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Weekend Discussion: The BEST Player in the Blazers Smackdown

The Blazers Star Smackdown is officially over and the winner by a clear margin was Brandon Roy, followed by Arvydas Sabonis and LaMarcus Aldridge.  Many folks--myself included--were curious about the inclusion of two current (and young) Blazers in the final three.  I never would have predicted that, but that's exactly why these experiments are interesting!  

Many are pointing to a generational divide as the reason for Aldridge and Roy's great performances but I see it differently.  This shows how far the Blazers have come in the last five years.  In 2006 you wouldn't have found a current team member getting past the first round of this kind of contest.  In fact an entire generation grew up idolizing the past and disparaging the present of this team...for good reason too!  The fact that Roy and Aldridge made the final three shows that many Blazer fans have turned the page, not forgetting the great players of the past but ready to celebrate the present and future just as much.  That means they've found something worth celebrating.  That's actually pretty cool.  Names like Buck Williams and Jerome Kersey warm my heart just as much as they ever did but it'd be nice to think that we've moved into an era where memories aren't the strongest (or only) reason to follow the team.

One of the things noted during the voting--built into the system really--was that the Smackdown was a vote for your favorite Blazer stars.  This was distinguished from the best Blazer players.  Multiple times voters moved a statistically inferior (perhaps inferior by talent as well) player ahead because they liked him better.  More power to them!  That was the purpose of the exercise.  But on this Labor Day weekend let's revisit the Smackdown list in its entirety with an eye on two questions:

  1. Who is the best player on this list by talent and on-court contributions to the Blazers, leaving aside personal feelings and off-court stuff unless it materially affected the team's play?  Remember we're counting only time spent with the Blazers here, not an entire career perspective.  Is it still Brandon Roy or is someone else technically a better player?
  2. If you'd like to, go ahead and name a starting five from this list, paying attention to position and fit together but otherwise using the same criteria from #1, ignoring likes and dislikes, paying attention only to talent and on-court contributions.  If this were a video game, which five players from this list would you want starting for your version of the Blazers and why?

Click through to see the list of players.  If you'd like to reference their stats you can see the always-wonderful folks at Basketball-Reference.com.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

 

  • Geoff Petrie
  • Sydney Wicks
  • J.R. Rider
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Buck Williams
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Rasheed Wallace
  • Steve Johnson
  • Brandon Roy
  • Lionel Hollins
  • Kevin Duckworth
  • Rod Strickland
  • Damon Stoudamire
  • Brian Grant
  • Kenny Carr
  • Kiki Vandeweghe
  • Cliff Robinson
  • Arvydas Sabonis
  • Jerome Kersey
  • Mychal Thompson
  • Calvin Natt
  • Zach Randolph
  • Jim Paxson
  • Steve Smith