Home > Calvin Murphy, Clippers, Eddie Donovan, home of the Braves, NBA, Van Miller > Braves/Clippers franchise shows crap-shoot value of draft picks

Braves/Clippers franchise shows crap-shoot value of draft picks

By Chris Wendel

Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers “won” the NBA Lottery to select first in this summer’s player draft. What was somewhat lost was the fact that the pick originally belonged to you guessed it, the Los Angeles Clippers. LA traded the pick as part of the trade with Cleveland on February 24th.

It seems the more things change the more they remain the same for the Clippers/Braves franchise. In its first year of existence GM Eddie Donovan traded the Braves’ first draft choice to the Baltimore Bullets for guard Mike Davis. Davis had been on the NBA’s all-rookie team in 1969-70. In the process, Buffalo passed over the potential choice of Niagara stand-out and later NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy

Calvin Murphy

*  “I had done all of Calvin Murphy’s games at Niagara,” recalled Van Miller, the Braves’ legendary play-by-play man. “Pound for pound, Calvin is the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen. He could dunk the ball and he was a tough guy. He was the one guy that nobody, and I mean nobody, ever fooled with. Nobody in that league ever messed with Calvin Murphy. Eddie Donovan was a great GM for the Braves and other teams, but I, like a lot of people from Western New York, will never forgive him for not taking Calvin Murphy in that first draft.” *

Perhaps we are all delusional when it comes to believing that early draft choices determine a team’s future. After all, the Clipper/Braves’ all-time leading scorer is still Randy Smith, who was a 7th round pick by the Braves in 1971, selected to appease the local fan base after passing on Murphy the previous year. Smith’s unlikely rise out of Buffalo State to NBA All-Star status was difficult for anyone to predict. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

This piece from Steve Perrin Clips Nation blog describes last night’s happenings from a Clipper fan’s perspective.

*From the book “Buffalo, Home of the Braves” 

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