How will Portland's free agents stack up this coming season?
This offseason, free agents like point guard Earl Watson and small forward Dorell Wright have signed on with Rip City. But these are just two of the many free agents the Portland Trail Blazers have welcomed to their squad throughout history.
Even though they finished last season with a losing record of 33-49, the Trail Blazers had some seriously great years the past. They soared in the 1990s and even won the big title in 1977. Let’s take a look at some of the most important free agents the Trail Blazers have signed, whether they are players who succeeded in the past or those who are poised to contribute in the future.
Wright played for the 76ers last season.
Coming in at the No. 5 spot, we’ve got Dorell Wright, whom the Trail Blazers signed to a two-year deal over this offseason. The 27-year old small forward previously played with the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season, Wright averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 22.6 minutes per game.
The 6’9", 205-pound Wright was drafted in 2004 in the first round by the Miami Heat. This means he’s got nine years of solid professional play under his belt, making him a good grab for the Trail Blazers in his free agency.
Though Wright will undoubtedly come off the bench for starting small forward Nicolas Batum, he still was a good choice for the Trail Blazers. Last season, Batum ended his year early due to a shoulder injury. Should more injuries arise, Wright will be ready to step up.
Ainge is currently the president of basketball operations for the Celtics.
You might recognize Danny Ainge for his role as the president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics. However, Ainge was once a very skilled player, and he even spent a few seasons with the Blazers after two seasons in Sacramento and several years with the Celtics.
Ainge was a part of the early-‘90s crew in Portland. He played at the guard position during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons, averaging 11.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 21.4 minutes during his first year as a Portland Trail Blazer.
Ainge contributed to a very successful season for the Blazers in 1990-91. Portland ended the regular season with a record of 63-19 and finished first in the NBA Pacific division. Clearly, their 33-49 record last season pales in comparison to their 1990-91 season finish.
Patterson also played for Denver.
Forward Ruben Patterson spent a few years in Portland after playing for Seattle. During his 2001-02 season with the Blazers, he averaged a solid 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 23.5 minutes of game play. He also put up an impressive field-goal percentage of .515. He contributed to Portland’s record of 49-33.
He delivered slightly better numbers a couple of years later during the 2004-05 season, averaging 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 28.0 minutes. Portland finished the 2004-05 regular season with a record of 27-55.
That season, Twardzik averaged 10.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a field-goal percentage of .612 in 26.2 minutes each game. He helped the Blazers to a 49-33 record, but the title win was the real achievement of that campaign
Twardzik spent four seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was originally drafted by Portland but played for the Virginia Squires for four seasons before his famous 1976-77 season.
During the 1996-97 season, his first with Portland, Anderson averaged 17.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.6 minutes of game play. Let the statistics speak for themselves—he was an asset for the Trail Blazers.
During the 1996-97 season, Portland finished with a record of 49-33 and a third-place spot in the NBA Pacific Division. They ended up about the same for Anderson’s second season with a record of 46-36 and the fourth spot in the division.