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Top 10 Trail Blazers of the decade

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Looking back at the best Blazers players of the 2010s

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

All-NBA tier

  1. Damian Lillard
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge

Very good tier

3. Nicolas Batum

4. CJ McCollum

5. Wesley Matthews

Crucially important but played few games or had a low ceiling tier

6. Jusuf Nurkic

7. Al-Farouq Aminu

8. Robin Lopez

Sentimental tier

9. Brandon Roy

And the rest tier

10. Meyers Leonard? Andre Miller? Steve Blake? Carmelo Anthony? I don’t know, pick the guy that stands out most to you

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89. Blaze the Trail Cat

90. Raymond Felton

91. Allen Crabbe

Justifications and explanations

Here’s the full list of 2010s Blazers from Basketball Reference for anyone who wants to peruse. Note that it includes the entire 2009-10 season, so the impact of players from that year will be overstated. Here’s the version that starts with 2010-11 as an alternative.

Brandon Roy at 9?! ARE YOU INSANE?!

Brandon Roy is my all-time favorite NBA player and I genuinely believe he saved the franchise. We would not be arguing about Hassan Whiteside’s impact and Kevin Love trades today if not for The Natural.

Sadly, however, he barely played for the Blazers in the 2010s — 79 games total and 47 of those were during the largely ineffectual 2010-11 season. If you want to bump him up into a different tier because of the Mavericks playoff game I won’t quibble. That was an all-time moment. But the reality is that, other than that one game, the Brandon Roy we remember and revere is the 2007-09 version.

Batum is too high. Wes is too low. CJ is All-NBA.

I turned this into a tiered system instead of a straight top 10 largely because of the “very good” grouping. Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, and CJ McCollum have not been all-stars for the Blazers but they have been more important than the players ranked immediately below them. It felt important to reflect that somehow.

Within this tier, you could really rank them in any order you want — heck I almost gave up and made it a three-way tie. Batum and McCollum are both polarizing players and Matthews brought more intangibles to the table than any Blazer since Jerome Kersey, so I expect some healthy debate. Here are the advanced stats (minus 2009-10 games) to help out.

Meyers Leonard at 10?!

There’s a pretty steep drop-off after Robin Lopez. For better or worse, Meyers Leonard was around the longest and most associated with this decade. If you think that’s a bad choice, then I’d suggest Andre Miller, or even Carmelo Anthony purely for the silliness. Really, it’s a fill-in-the-blank spot to reflect your personal preferences.

The last two

The summer of 2016 has cast a pall over the franchise for nearly four years. There’s a small modicum of hope that the legacy of Evan Turner, Leonard, and Maurice Harkless mutate into useful players for next season. At times, all three of them were even useful players themselves.

In contrast, Allen Crabbe’s contract will always be a blight and disappointment — a fitting match to his lethargic and feeble on-court play during the 2016-17 season. So Crabbe gets the last spot in my rankings. At least Raymond Felton ushered in a coaching change.