LOS ANGELES – One of the Clippers’ all-time greats has called it a career.
Elton Brand officially announced his retirement Thursday after a 17 years in the NBA, seven of which were spent with the Clippers, where he helped the team to the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2005-06 season.
Brand played for the Clippers from 2001-08, averaging a double-double in four of his seven seasons with the team and at least 20 points per game from 2003-07. Both of Brand’s All-Star appearances occurred for the Clippers, once in 2002 and again in 2006.
That latter year happened to be the best of Brand’s career, as the power forward averaged 24.7 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.5 blocks per game on his way to being named an All-Star for the second time in his career, also finding his way to the All-NBA Second Team.
Brand finished his career with averages of 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 blocks per game, playing for the Bulls, Clippers, Sixers, Mavericks and Hawks. In his seven-year career with the Clippers, Brand averaged 20.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
Brand was traded to the Clippers in 2001 and immediately made an impact, averaging 18.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and two blocks per game in 80 games that season.
He’s still second in rebounds and minutes played in Clippers history. He’s also third in points, field goals made, blocks and free-throws made, seventh in steals and games played and eighth in field goal percentage.
More than anything, though, Brand was the Clippers’ star before the days of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and before the days of consistent postseason appearances. He was a symbol of the Clippers’ transition from bottom dwellers into potential contenders, which is exactly what they were with Brand in 2005-06, when they beat the Nuggets in five games of the first round of the playoffs before taking the Suns to seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Many of Brand’s finest moments occurred during that playoff run, averaging 30.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.1 blocks per game in the second-round series. Brand was strong again in 2006-07, averaging more than 20 points per game, before his final season with the Clippers in 2007-08. While they would’ve loved to have kept the star forward longer before he went to Philadelphia, there’s no doubting the impact Brand had throughout his highly productive tenure in Los Angeles.
Here are the top five games from Brand’s time with the Clippers:
Honorable mention) Feb 24, 2007 vs GSW – Brand poured in 31 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while tying a career high with eight blocks. It was one of two games that season that Brand managed to score at least 30 points with eight blocks.
5) April 14, 2003 vs GSW – One of five games in his career with at least 25 points and 20 rebounds, Brand posted 26 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a nine-point win as the Clippers ended the season on a three-game winning streak.
4) Feb 19, 2004 vs BOS – When four of the five starters for a team combine for just 21 points, and that team still wins, that fifth starter must’ve done something special. Brand did just that with 39 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks, four steals and two assists in a two-point win, getting some help late from Eddie House on a jumper with two seconds left.
3) Feb 10, 2006 vs MEM – Brand tied a career high with 44 points, also adding nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. It was a stellar month for Brand, who averaged 29.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game that February.
2) Dec. 23, 2005 @ CHA – Only two players in Clippers history have posted at least 35 points and 20 rebounds in a game: Ken Norman and Brand. And Brand did it twice. The more impressive of those two such games came against Charlotte, when he posted 38 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in a 97-88 win.
1) May 16, 2006, Game 5 @ PHX – Brand did all he could to help push the Suns to seven games, scoring at least 30 points in five games, dishing out at least five assists in three games and blocking at least five shots in three games. His most complete performance came in the fifth game of the series, when Brand posted 33 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks.