Imagine if you will, Portland Trail Blazers fans, that the year is 2027. Everyone that you know from the current Blazers squad has moved on or retired except Head Coach Terry Stotts, who has earned “Coach for Life” honors due to consistent success over 15 seasons. Despite that, the Big Prize has eluded Stotts and his charges. The Blazers have often been thrice-removed bridesmaids, never a bride getting the ring.
You are musing on this, and the long rebuilding road ahead, while wandering an obscure beach near Waldport. Amid the bits of driftwood and broken sand dollars, you spy a bottle, half-buried. You’re guessing it’s trash from overseas, perhaps a bit of jetsam from a passing liner. You grab the neck, pulling upward to reveal cobalt-blue glass from which a mist emerges. To your complete shock, a figure appears, wearing an elderly version of a once-familiar face.
“DJ Jazzy Jeff???” you exclaim.
“Indeed,” comes the reply.
“What are you doing in THERE?”
The floating figure sighs. “I’m a second genie, one everybody forgot about, including my one-time friend that punk kid set free with his third wish.”
“That’s terrible! But...does that mean you’re going to grant me three wishes?”
Genie Jazzy Jeff scratches the back of his neck. “Technically I’m not quite as good as that other genie. I can only grant you one wish, and its scope is, well...limited.”
Your hands go to your hips and your head tilts sideways. “How limited?”
“Look, you’re a Trail Blazers fan, right? I can help you with that. All these years without a championship has got to be eating at you.”
“You’re going to make the Blazers win a TITLE???”
“No, I can’t do that. It wouldn’t be fair. Besides, that other guy already did that for the Nets and the Kazaam dude did it TWICE for the Lakers even though they didn’t deserve it a bit. The Commissioner gets mad about that sort of thing now. But I can help you with your next rebuild while nobody is looking!”
“How? A bunch of first-overall picks?”
“Naw. The Genie CBA contains a Dan Gilbert Rule now.”
“I’m going to give you a guard. Not just any old guard, but one of your best. I will use my powers to bring back the player of your choice, either Brandon Roy, Clyde Drexler, or Damian Lillard. The player will appear as a rookie with all skills and abilities intact, good as new. They’ll play for the Blazers for their entire career. And get this...no injuries.”
“No Roy knees or Drexler trades?”
“Nope! 100% Portland, 100% of the time for a nice, long tenure. Whichever one you pick is up to you, but any way you go, the Blazers will start 2027-28 right.”
“Geez, Genie Jazzy Jeff, that’s fantastic!”
“I know, right? So let’s have it. Who do you pick?”
You heard him, Trail Blazers fans. Given the choice between Roy, Lillard, and Drexler—fully tenured and no injuries ever—who do you select to start the next Blazers generation?
Give your choice and rationale below.