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Blazers Top 100: A Young Defensive Specialist at 98

A look at the 100 players and personnel that have influenced the Trail Blazers’ 50-year history.

Portland Trail Blazers v New Jersey Nets Photo by Noren Trotman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.

No. 98 | Aaron McKie

Games Played with Blazers: 167 Regular Season | 8 Postseason

*PTS: 7.9 | AST: 2.3 | STL: 1.0 | FG%: 44.4

*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland

Joined Club: Drafted 17th overall in 1994 NBA Draft

Departed Club: January 1997, traded with Randolph Childress and Reggie Jordan for Stacey Augmon

Place in History: Aaron McKie lives in one of the two “Dark Ages” gaps for the Trail Blazers, in this case after the triumphant title runs of Clyde Drexler’s teams but before the “Traveling All-Star Band” rosters of the Bob Whitsitt era. He was an enigma to most when the Blazers drafted him in 1994, a mid-sized sedan of a shooting guard who could score in college. The scoring part remained muted for much of his career, but McKie’s all-around excellence on defense earned him a near-instant starting role for Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo which he wouldn’t relinquish until his final year with the club.

McKie’s guts were evident from his rookie season. He’d take the floor against any opponent and stare them in the eye. He seemed to regard getting beat off the dribble as a personal insult. Up high or down low, he wasn’t going to let his man get the advantage. After he added veteran maturity, he became one of the more coveted players in the league, earning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 2000-01 with the Philadelphia 76’ers. The Blazers transitioned into a different team in the mid-1990’s, valuing name and experience more than potential. Because of that, trading McKie for Stacey Augmon made sense. It was plenty difficult watching him excel into his mid-30’s knowing that he was sitting there on Portland’s roster from the start and might have been the next Augmon had the team had more patience with him.

Discuss your memories of Portland’s long-forgotten defensive specialist below, and check back multiple times every weekday as we continue to countdown to No. 1!