clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who are the Best Backcourts in Portland Trail Blazers History?

New, comments

The Trail Blazers have sported a number of talented backcourts over the years. See who cracked our top five list using a proprietary grading system known as "the STEVEBLAKE score."

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Recently on Blazer's Edge, some folks have been discussing some of the greatest Blazers backcourts of all time. Since we're in the dog-days of August, I thought it might be fun to turn this idea into its own thread.

But how do we determine what is really "best?" These are purely subjective right? Well, we here at Blazer's Edge have access to the latest and greatest in analytical tools, and we've put together a proprietary and secret ranking methodology to measure backcourt greatness: synergy, talent, energy, variability, excitement, ball-handling, lob-passing, athleticism, killer-instinct, and excitement again, which will be cumulatively referred to from now on as a backcourt pair's STEVEBLAKE score.

Without further ado, here are the best Blazer backcourts in history:

No. 5: The Broken Dream (STEVEBLAKE Score: 53.6)

Steve Blake and Brandon Roy teamed up to lead the Blazers back into relevance after several years of disaster, both on and off the court.  Roy brought a dazzling array of skills and leadership to a team desperate for something to go right.  Steve Blake did a great job handing him the ball after he passed half-court. This pair's overall ranking is hurt by Steve Blake's shockingly low STEVEBLAKE contribution but overall, this pair left us wanting more after Roy suffered injury after injury and Blake suffered trade after trade.

No. 4 (Tie): The First/the Champions (STEVEBLAKE Score: 57.9)

Geoff Petrie and Jim Barnett. Lionel Hollins and Dave Twardzik. Blazer legends, all of them, and the STEVEBLAKE score doesn't lie. Of course, I was born in 1978, so I never actually saw any of these guys play.

Note: That's not entirely true. While he was coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, I once saw Hollins pick up a ball that had rolled to him during pregame warmups. He decided to put one up from the corner, presumably for old time's sake, and missed the rim by a good three feet.

No. 3: The Last Best Chance (STEVEBLAKE Score 68.1)

At the turn of the century, the Blazers had one of the deepest teams in the NBA and were considered threats to win a championship. Supporting guys like Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen shared the floor with a solid starting backcourt of Damon Stoudamire and Steve Smith. Smith was a notorious sharpshooter and Stoudamire was a Portland native who had returned home to lead the Blazers to the Promised Land.

While their basic statistics don't tell the whole tale, their cumulative STEVEBLAKE score is very impressive, especially in the 1999-00 season where they made a deep playoff run culminating in me blacking out during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals and finally coming to sometime the following October. I'm pretty sure we swept the Pacers that year in the Finals, but I never saw anything promoting the championship parade. I bet it was awesome. Heck, maybe I was even there! Send pictures to me on twitter @petersampson.

No. 2: Recency Bias! (STEVEBLAKE Score 77.8)

Just kidding. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are that good. In an age when a team needs multiple star players to even have a chance at relevance, Portland already has two locked up in its starting backcourt. A pair of scoring guards capable of running the offense with the ball in their hands, these guys are exciting, play well together, like the city, and are just entering the prime of their careers.

Yes, I know that the defense can be problematic, but this isn't the STEVEDLAKE system.

No. 1: The Best (STEVBLAKE Score 83.2)

No matter how we slice it, Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler formed the best backcourt in Blazers history. They were the crux of a team that crossed excitement and entertainment with success, leading the Blazers to two NBA Finals in a three-year span. The whole concept of "Rip City" was in full effect across Portland during Porter and Drexler's reign and it can't really be held against them that they ran up against the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons or that Michael Jordan bemusedly shrugging his way to his second of six championships.

With a combination of savvy and explosiveness that could strike at any time, this duo was absolutely lethal from potentially anywhere on the court, and hands-down the greatest.

Who are your honorable mentions for best Blazer backcourt? We unfortunately can't share the details of our proprietary system aside from what is listed above, so you'll have to just wing it or make up your own. Got a case for Jim Paxson and Darnell Valentine?  Let us know in the comments below!