All-time Rip City greats
The Portland Trail Blazers are a proud franchise, and their fans are proud of what the team has done throughout the years. Are they the most successful group in the league? Not by a long shot. But that doesn’t mean that they haven’t had a few players stop through and make a difference.
The Blazers have one championship to their name, and you’d better believe that a couple of the players from that team are on this list. Championships, however, aren’t the only way to measure greatness within an individual organization.
The Blazers have a number of players who will be remembered as long as the franchise is around. Those players are memorialized in the rafters of the Rose Garden, and they help make up the greatest starting lineup in team history.
Center: Bill Walton
The Trail Blazers have had their share of injury-prone big men throughout the years, and unfortunately, Bill Walton is no exception. The center managed to miss more than 200 regular season games in five years, and his last moment as a part of the franchise was breaking his foot in a 1978 playoff appearance.
But unlike the Greg Oden’s of the team’s history, Walton was able to produce when given the chance, and he was a major component in the team’s only championship in 1977.
Walton averaged 18.5 points, 19 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 blocks in the 1977 championship series. He was an absolute force at the rim, and he is arguably the biggest reason the team took down the Philadelphia 76ers in the Finals.
Walton’s time in Portland was short, but boy was it sweet. He left the team following his broken foot, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans; but when it comes down to it, the big man is one of the great players to suit up at the end of the day.
Power Forward: Maurice Lucas
Maurice Lucas is an absolute legend in Trail Blazers history. Few others have epitomized so well what it means to be a hard worker, as he was a consistent double-double threat, and he helped lead the team to a championship in 1977.
Some will argue that the starting power forward should not be Lucas, but Sidney Wicks instead. During his rookie year, Wicks recorded 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, and he went on to average 22 points and 10.3 rebounds during his time with the Blazers.
But while the numbers are tough to argue against, Lucas’ legacy lives on because of what he brought to the team outside of the box score. He was the enforcer for a reason, and his physical play during the championship run is what people remember.
Lucas passed away in October 2010, but he won’t soon be forgotten by a franchise that will forever be thankful for what he brought to the organization.
Small Forward: Clifford Robnson
Technically, if you’re looking for the most talented, accomplished small forward in Trail Blazers history, you’d find Scottie Pippen donning the Rip City logo between 1999 and 2003.
That said, the Hall of Famer was past his prime and part of the Jail Blazers era, so we look the way of Clifford Robinson as the all-time best staring small forward.
The beautiful thing about Robinson’s career in Portland is that we watched him work his way from the ground up. He was a second-round draft pick by the Blazers in 1989, he played his entire rookie season off the bench and he paid his dues before his time to shine officially began.
During his prime, Robinson averaged around 21 points and six rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Not bad for a draft-day sleeper.
Shooting Guard: Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler is arguably the greatest Trail Blazer to ever play in franchise history, and there really is no other name that belongs in the shooting guard spot of the starting five.
During his time with the team, Drexler posted averages of 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. He is one of only three players in NBA history to record at least 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists in a career, and his versatility on both ends of the floor made him one of the great two-way players of his time.
Had it not have been for the degenerative knees that forced Brandon Roy to retire, the 2-guard may have some day taken this spot. However, with the past officially behind us and Roy’s days complete, Drexler’s legacy will live on as the best shooting guard for a long time to come.
Point Guard: Terry Porter
Until the drafting of Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers were on a seemingly endless search for their next great point guard. Part of that was bad luck (ie] Sebastian Telfair and Raymond Felton), but the other part was how high Terry Porter set the bar back in the day.
Porter averaged 14.9 points, 7.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds during his time in Portland. In 1988, he averaged 10.1 assists per contest, and followed that up with 17.7 points, 9.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds the following season.
The point guard never won a championship in Portland, but he did help orchestrate an offense that saw the Finals twice, and he still owns the franchise record for assists and three-pointers to this day.