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The Greatness of Lebron (A Clyde Drexler Comparison)

Tonight, Portland beat the Indiana Pacers 106-102, improving their record to 15-3 (or 14-1 against everyone except the Phoenix Suns).

The Blazers continued their domination of the Eastern Conference, and are now 8-0 against the Eastern Conference, including 3 double digit wins and 4 road wins.

The Blazers now have wins against the top team in the East, the Indiana Pacers(16-2), and against the other top team in the West, the San Antonio Spurs(15-3).

Prior to tonight' game, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat had been 7-0 against the Western Conference (Miami travels to the Rose City December 28th).

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The Miami Heat are led by GM Pat Riley(a member of The Three Kings), and coached by local boy Erik Spoelstra.

As discussed in the Three Kings post, Erik Spoelstra is the son of former Blazers executive Jon Spoelstra, and graduated from my alma mater Jesuit High School('88) before graduating from the University of Portland('92).

Both the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers are off to unbelievably hot starts. While the Heat were expected to be dominant, having won 27 straight games on the way to finishing the 2012-13 regular season on a 37-2 tear, the Blazers were not under the same expectations.

The Miami Heat have lost just 3 games this year, by a combined 6 points.

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2013-all-star-lebron-james-wallpaper_medium

Lebron James is currently the best player in the NBA, putting our talented small forwards to shame. At just 28 years old, Lebron has already been elected to 9 All-star games. He's led the league in PER the past 7 seasons, and win shares(and win shares/48 minutes) the past 6 seasons.

He's been elected First Team All-NBA 8 consecutive years, and been First Team All-Defensive Team 5 consecutive years. Lebron has won the MVP 4 of the past 5 seasons, and has won consecutive NBA Championships, being elected NBA Finals MVP both times.

Naturally, I wanted to compare the greatest player of our generation with the greatest Blazer.

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Clyde Drexler is the greatest Blazer of all-time, and there really isn't any argument.

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Drafted by the Blazers in the 1983 NBA Draft #14, Clyde Drexler played 11 plus seasons for Portland, before being traded during the 1994-95 season to the Houston Rockets.

Drexler is #1 in virtually every Blazer career statistic leader board:


Clyde Drexler Next Highest
Games Played 867 831 (Jerome Kersey)
Minutes Played 29496 23978 (Terry Porter)
Points 18040 11330 (Terry Porter)
Field Goals Made 6889 4058 (Jim Paxson)
Field Goals Attempted 14425 8820 (Cliff Robinson)
Free Throws 3798 2555 (Terry Porter)
Free Throws Attempted 4816 3020 (Terry Porter)
Offensive Rebounds 2227 1900 (Jerome Kersey)
Total Rebounds 5339 5078 (Jerome Kersey)
Steals 1795 1182 (Terry Porter)
Offensive Win Shares 68.2 52.5 (Terry Porter)
Defensive Win Sharess 40.5 32.4 (Jerome Kersey)
Win Shares 108.7 79.3 (Terry Porter)

And where he isn't #1, Clyde is close to the top:

  • #2 in assists with 4933
  • #4 in defensive rebounds with 3112
  • #6 in blocks with 594
  • #2 in PER at 21.3
  • #6 in 3pts made with 464
  • #3 in 3pts attempted with 1531

He leads the Blazers in All-star Appearances:

  • Clyde Drexler (8)

  • Sidney Wicks(4)
  • Brandon Roy(3)
  • Maurice Lucas(3)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge(2)
  • Geoff Petrie(2)
  • Bill Walton(2)
  • Rasheed Wallace(2)
  • Terry Porter(2)
  • Jim Paxson(2)
  • Kevin Duckworth(2)
  • Lionel Hollins(1)
  • Clifford Robinson(1)
  • Steve Johnson(1)
  • Kermit Washington(1)

Drexler led the Blazers to 11 consecutive playoff appearances, including 3 consecutive Western Conference Finals from 1990-92. He brought the Blazers to 2 of our 3 NBA Finals, but sadly lost both of them.

He is one of only 6 players in the Hall of Fame that ever played for the Blazers: Bill Walton, Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic, Lenny Wilkens, and Scottie Pippen. Of those, it's hard to count Scottie Pippen, Lenny Wilkens and Drazen Petrovic, as Blazers, as their basketball achievements happened largely outside the Blazers organization.

Clyde Drexler, Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek are the only players in NBA history to top 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists. Drexler finished his career with 5 All-NBA teams and was a 10 time All-star. He was elected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.

Like Bill Walton before him, Clyde requested to be traded, and the Blazers complied with his request during the 1994-95 season. In Houston, reunited with his college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde finally did win an NBA Championship.

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To start, I would like to compare Lebron' 10+ NBA seasons, with Drexler' 11+ seasons with the Blazers:


Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks FG% 3pt % FT % PER Win Shares Win Shares/48min
Clyde Drexler (Blazers) 18040 5339 4933 1795 594 47.80% 30.30% 78.90% 21.3 108.7 0.177
Lebron James 21526 5652 5409 1341 656 49.20% 34.00% 74.80% 27.7 156.5 0.242

Despite playing a full less season, Lebron already leads Clyde Drexler in every statistic, except steals and free throw percentage.

In points, rebounds and assists, it isn't even close. Lebron even has the advantage in 3pt percentage.

Looking at the careers totals of each:


Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks FG% 3pt % FT % PER Win Shares Win Shares/48min
Clyde Drexler 22195 6677 6125 2207 719 47.20% 31.80% 78.80% 21.1 135.6 0.173
Lebron James 21526 5652 5409 1341 656 49.20% 34.00% 74.80% 27.7 156.5 0.242

Lebron is still behind Clyde in every statistical total.

However, one has to imagine that Lebron will be passing Clyde in career totals in points and blocks this season, and rebounds and assists early next season.

It appears the only statistic Clyde could potentially finish ahead of Lebron in, when it's all said and done, is steals(and of course steals per game).

The stat that kills me:

Drexler' best PER was 24.1 during the 1987-88 season, while Lebron' worse PER, outside his rookie season, was 24.5 during the 2006-07 season.

Lebron is a beast.

A graph illustrating Lebron's greatness: h/t: erastus25

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The Blazers had a November to Remember.

With 2 wins to open the month, here's to an even better December.

Go Blazers!

Cheers.

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