Over the last few weeks we’ve looked back on the things that we love about the Portland Trail Blazers: which player you’d want to have a cold beverage with, who’s the best Trail Blazer who never made an All Star team, which Blazers player most surpassed expectations?
Today the gloves are coming off. Was there ever a Blazers player you couldn’t stand? Someone whose game you didn’t like, whose attitude rubbed you the wrong way, or just had something about him that made you go, “Ugh” instead of, “Yay”?
For me, this is a no-brainer. I’m sure Raymond Felton is a lovely person, but...
The first strike against Felton was that the Blazers traded Andre Miller to get him. I’m a huge fan of the Andre Miller. My personal list of favorite Oregon Sports memories goes
- Damian Lillard .9 shot
- Kenny Wheaton scores
- Andre Miller’s 52 point game.
So Felton was already on my you-know-what list when he arrived.
2011-12 was a terrible, horrible, no-good lockout year. With the start of the season delayed by negotiations, training camp didn’t start until mid-December. Felton showed up overweight and out of shape. I don’t have a problem with players of large girth. There are plenty of players who carry extra weight like Boris Diaw and Portland’s own Kevin Duckworth, but they stay in good condition. It seemed like Felton had not prepared his body for the season. He was traded to the team in June. Most players stayed active and in condition while waiting out the disagreement. Did he think the lockout was going to last forever?
It seemed like Felton’s time as a Trail Blazer was full of misfired passes, air balls, loudly clanging rims, balls slipping off his fingers out of bounds and his classic move: dribbling the ball off his foot. Instead of getting better on the court, he doubled down his defensiveness off it, ultimately inviting fans to confront him at his townhouse in the Pearl.
To be fair, that season was rough on just about everyone. Felton’s numbers weren’t even that bad: 11.4 Points, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game. But he didn’t win any friends with 2.8 turnovers per game and shot barely 40% from the field. (Amazingly, Jamal Crawford’s FG% was even worse that year, at 38%). I’m glad he found a home somewhere else. But hey, if he hadn’t played that year in Portland, we wouldn’t have had those wonderful moments of togetherness in the Moda Center, booing in chorus every time he touched the ball. So there’s that.
Which Trail Blazer do you love to hate (or, dislike, if hate is too strong a word)? Is it Felton for you too, or does someone else make you grimace more? Sound off in the comments below!