|Height:||6 feet 8 inches (203 cm)|
|Weight:||254 lb. (115 kg)|
|High School:||Peekskill, New York|
|NBA draft:|| 1999, 1st round|
|Pro career:||6th season, 2 time All-Star|
|Hall of Fame:|| None|
Elton Tyron Brand (born March 11, 1979 in Peekskill, New York), is an American professional basketball player for the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Clippers. One of the more underrated players in the league, the Clippers' recent success in the 2005-06 season has established to some extent the public's perception of Brand as one of the premier power forwards in the game today.
At the age of thirteen, Brand enrolled in Peekskill High School, where he was immediately added to the varsity basketball roster. He played AAU basketball with future NBA player Ron Artest and, by his senior year, he was consistently ranked among the top high school basketball players in the country. At the same time, he became something of a cult hero in Peekskill, helping his team win two state championships while demonstrating a humble calm and an articulate intelligence. Another native of Peekskill, George Pataki was once asked about being the town's favorite son, and he answered that Peekskill's favorite son was not the Governor but, in fact, Elton Brand. Recruited heavily after his successful high school career, Brand decided to enroll at Duke University alongside a cluster of other high school stars, including Shane Battier.
- 2-time NBA All-Star: 2002, 2006
- Second Team: 2006
- NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2000
- NBA co-Rookie of the Year: 2000 (with Steve Francis)
- 2-time NBA regular-season leader, offensive rebounds: 2000 (348), 2002 (396)
As a sophomore, Brand was the dominant inside presence for a Duke team that is widely regarded as one of the most talented teams in recent NCAA history. After leading the Blue Devils to the championship game of the Final Four–where they were upset by the University of Connecticut–Brand was named the consensus National Player of the Year. He subsequently decided to leave Duke after his sophomore season and apply for the NBA draft, where he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the first pick.
After two successful seasons with the Bulls, during which he received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2000, Brand was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2001 for Brian Skinner and the draft rights to Tyson Chandler. In Los Angeles, Brand became the first Clipper since Danny Manning (in 1994) to be selected to the All-Star team. As much as Brand shined through his first years in Los Angeles, however, the Clippers still remained one of the worst franchises in sports.
When Brand became a restricted free agent in 2003, the Miami Heat dangled an offer worth $82 million over six years. In what was an unprecedented move by team owner Donald Sterling, the Clippers matched Miami's offer and managed to keep Brand a Clipper. Prior to this, the biggest contract Sterling had approved to that point was a five-year, $15 million deal for Eric Piatkowski in 1998.
In the 2006 NBA season, Brand experienced a personal renaissance. He posted career-highs in points per game (24.7) and field-goal percentage (52.7), while leading the Clippers to an impressive 47-35 record, good enough for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. This can be attributed partly to the additions of guards Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley and the emergence of young center Chris Kaman. In February 2006, Brand was fittingly selected to the 2006 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve forward for the West. As a result of his individual prowess and the Clippers' recent success, many analysts believed that he was a strong candidate for Most Valuable Player for the 2006 season. Steve Nash went on to win the award. On April 22, 2006, Brand made his playoff debut scoring 21 points against the Denver Nuggets. On May 1, Brand helped lead the team to its first playoff series win since 1976, when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves. Although the Clippers eventually lost in game 7 against the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers had the best season that their franchise had ever seen. Brand was the recipient of the 2006 NBA Sportsmanship Award, and a runner-up for the same award in 2005.
Brand is somewhat undersized for the power forward position, standing a mere 6 ft 8 in, usually giving up two inches and more to his direct opponent. Howevever, like another undersized power forward Charles Barkley, he utilizes his wide and thick body, and surprising athleticism for a man his weight in order to out-muscle his opponents. His large wing span also allows Brand to be a proficient shot-blocker. In his first years in the league, he had a few, but effictive and powerful moves underneath the basket which already made him a effective post player. It was not until the beginning of the 2005-2006 season when Brand became one of the best power forwards of the NBA. During the offseason prior to the 2005-2006 season, he trimmed his weight from 265 lb. down to 254 lb. in order to increase his quickness. He also worked on adding more finesse moves underneath the basket so that he could score without having to utilized power all the time. But most importantly, he worked on his shooting range and developed a dependable 18 ft. jumper. As a result, he has been regularly scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds a night. As of April 2006, he ranks in the Top 12 in scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking. His career average of 4.0 offensive boards a game is outstanding. Additionally, he is regarded as a dominant presence on defense as a shot-blocker. As of 2006, Brand is seen as the franchise player of the Clippers and an All-Star for many years to come if he stays healthy.
- Statistical reference: []