The Portland Trail Blazers have three clear candidates for Best Player Ever: Clyde Drexler, Damian Lillard, and Bill Walton, not necessarily in that order. Lillard encroaching upon Drexler’s all-time franchise scoring record is causing serious debate between those two. Walton is always in the mix because of the 1977 NBA Championship.
As today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag submission points out, three players doesn’t quite fill the bill, though. No matter which order you put that trio in, part of the question remains unanswered. Thus...
Who do you place on the Mount Rushmore of Blazer history? Given talent and impact, I would say Dame, Walton, Drexler, and ? Roy. There would be many arguments for #5 but there are only four presidents on Rushmore.
Ah yes. That fourth player is going to get you. There will be almost universal agreement on the top three, each of whom defined an era. Your generation is going to define who you think the fourth is.
Brandon Roy isn’t a bad choice. He did define the era he was in. It was just too short, due to his injuries. Had he played three years longer—and had Greg Oden been productive and healthy—the carving would already have been done. Neither of those things happened, though. If we’re just looking at raw talent, I could see Roy being up there. But on raw talent, you also have to consider other players.
Some second-in-their-era players will also provoke discussion. Maurice Lucas and Terry Porter come to mind immediately. Each will have advocates.
For me, though, I’m going with the player who also defined a successful era, had longevity, and whose talent merits inclusion. That’s Rasheed Wallace. He averaged 19 per game twice, rebounded decently, passed, played defense, and led the Blazers during an era where they made the Conference Finals twice, almost reaching the NBA Finals in 2000. That’s better than they’ve done during Lillard’s tenure, although Dame is obviously a better scorer.
That’s the fourth on my Trail Blazers Mt. Rushmore. Who’s yours? Share in the comments below.