NCAA March Madness is just around the corner. In homage to the great annual event we’re running a Portland Trail Blazers bracket here at Blazer’s Edge this month. The idea came from an article from Dia Miller and Dave Deckard, detailing the Blazers they’d most like to see one more time. The piece was fun and well-received, so we’re making a bracket of 16 candidates and letting you vote for your favorites during these January weeks. Eventually we’ll see which player you’d most like to bring back for one more go.
Here are the conventions:
- We’re not including Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler, since everyone should want them back for overwhelming talent and impact purposes. They count as, “Anytime, Anywhere” legends.
- You can vote in the comments or on Twitter @blazersedge. We won’t get as many votes that way as if we just opened a poll, but the discussion is important as well.
- You don’t necessarily have to consider the current roster or the state of the team as you make your choices, but you can. You’re voting for the player you’d most love to see suit up for one more season. The qualities/memories of that individual player are the most important things. Helping the current team is a bonus which can weigh in your decision, but doesn’t have to.
- Sadly, we’ve lost some of the players on this list. We remember them with honor and thank their families for sharing them with us through basketball so we could appreciate and remember them.
- Go ahead and envision the best Blazers version of each player. That’s part of the fun!
In our next matchup, two of the best scoring guards the franchise has ever known face off against each other.
After being selected 6th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft then being traded to Portland on draft night, Brandon Roy set about building a Rookie of the Year season and a memorable career. Sandwiched between heralded big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, Roy outshone them all. In his first four seasons with the Blazers he averaged 20.2 points per game, shooting 46.7% from the field, earning three NBA All-Star appearances. He had a deceptively-accurate jump shot, spliced through by even-more-deceptively athletic drives to the rim. He was also the original game-finisher before Damian Lillard took over that role in 2012.
Watching Roy glide to the rim is an experience. Watching him hit buzzer beaters is downright ethereal.
Nobody will ever forget Roy scoring 24 points in the fourth period in Game 4 of Portland’s series with the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. He brought his team back from a deep hole against the eventual champions, staking them to an 84-82 victory and keeping them alive for another day.
The Blazers would lose that series, then lose Roy the next season. His knees crumbled, leaving his career as a brief, shining testimony to greatness. Seeing Brandon line up beside Lillard would be a sight in itself, let alone the one-season redemption story for an NBA Great that never had the chance to tell the greatest story with his talent and drive.
If you’re talking OG Blazers, the “G” stands for “Geoff” and the “O” for, “Oh my gosh this guy can score!” Petrie was the original Blazers All-Star, Rookie of the Year, and face of the franchise. Like Roy, he scored big early in his career. Like Roy, knee issues scuttled his longevity. They didn’t stop him from averaging 24.8 points per game the second he stepped into the NBA. He’d repeat the feat twice more, in his third and fourth seasons. His jump shot was nearly unparalleled, in his own time and for decades after. It was as good as the best shooters who have come down the pike since.
Every defense who faced the Blazers in their first six seasons knew that stopping Petrie was a key to success. Few could manage it. Even after injuries took his mobility, he still scored than most “stars” in other eras. He finished having played 446 games in Portland’s uniform, averaging 21.8 points per season in a time BEFORE the three-pointer. Had the arc existed, you probably could have added 20% to his already astonishing scoring total.
Petrie played before highlight reels were a thing, but you can see his talent and that silky shot below:
So what about it? Would you rather bring back Brandon Roy for an encore or go old school and invite the original scorer who never got to taste the playoffs in his long career? Vote in the comments or on Twitter!