Berkeley and Ben's recent sighting of an SI poll trumpeting Lillard as the mideason ROY favorite got me farting around the web. Thanks to that delightful farting, here are some tidbits about the history of Blazer players and the award.
Co-winner Geoff Petrie (1971) was injured and never played again after a 1976 trade which netted the Blazers Maurice Lucas. Petrie then disappeared from all human knowledge, nevermore seen on this Earth.
Sidney Wicks (1972) regressed after his rookie season, resembling 1996 winner Damon Stoudamire (at the time mired in Toronto). One could say the same for '96 runner-up Arvydas Sabonis; then again, even as a rookie his knees were already 73 years old.
While the Blazers famously passed on 1985 winner Jordan for Sam Bowie, trading Bowie did eventually get them 1982 winner Buck Williams. Jordan got titles, but Buck? WAY cooler guy. Granted, being cooler than Jordan is about as hard as being shorter than Mutombo. Nevertheless, I'll introduce my children to Buck and you can introduce yours to Jordan. If you hate your children.
Just for fun: The weakest rookie class in recent years has to be 2001 (winner, Mike Miller, yay for him), and fourth that season? All-Time King Of Blazer Fan Love, Darius Miles.
Some other memorable-Blazer runner-ups:
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1997, 3rd); Andre Miller (2000, 4th); Brian Grant (tied for fifth in 1995 with Juwan Howard). Raymond Felton and Channing Frye were 5th and 6th in the year of Chris Paul (2006); writers inexplicably snubbed Martell Webster and Jarrett Jack. I was unable to discover the 2007 winner, only a scrub way down in 7th place that year, LaMarcus Aldridge.
A few Blazers who didn't get any votes (Basketball Reference doesn't cite voting results before the 1983/1984 season): Drexler, Duckworth, Kersey, Pippen, Porter, Randolph, Robinson, Wallace, Wells. Some players sit on the pine at first, only later getting a chance to show their talents on the hardwood . . . um, also pine, probably, it's a good wood. Smells nice. Burns really hot.
So Barton, Claver, Freeland and Leonard . . . keep reaching for that rainbow!