The Portland Trail Blazers were first introduced to the rest of the NBA in 1970. Their first draft pick of the franchise, Geoff Petrie, would turn out to be one of the best Blazers players in their era.
He is just one of quite a few great players that have donned a Trail Blazers uniform.
The Blazers made the playoffs for the first time during the 1976-77 season. They finished with a 49-33 record in the regular season under Dr. Jack Ramsay, also his first season coaching the Blazers.
Portland would then go on to shock everybody, as they advanced throughout the playoffs. They swept the almighty Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. They faced Julius Erving and the 76ers in the Finals, with Philly taking the first games. The Blazers would then go on to win the next four games, successfully winning their first (and only thus far) championship of the team's history.
Portland has advanced to the Finals three times, winning just that lone championship. They have qualified for the playoffs 29 out of 41 total seasons, while advancing to the Western Conference Finals six times. The Blazers also made it to the playoffs for 21 straight seasons (1983-2003).
They sport an all-time record of 1,781-1,549 (53.5 percent).
The team played their home games at the Memorial Coliseum from their inaugural season to the 1995-96 season. They would then move to the Rose Garden Arena, and have been there since the initial move.
Many players have played for the Blazers franchise, but there are some that just stand out to me.
Dave Twardzik - Member of 1977 Championship Team; Number retired by the Blazers
Bob Gross - Member of 1977 Championship Team; Number retired by the Blazers
Damon Stoudamire - Part of the "Jail Blazers" era; Among the team's all-time leaders in assists
LaMarcus Aldridge - Current starting power forward for Blazers; Considered to be the best player on the current team; Had an All-Star caliber 2010-11 season
Arvydas Sabonis - Member of 2011 Hall of Fame class
Buck Williams - Major role player in two Finals appearances (1990 and 1992); Three-time All-Defensive Team member
Zach Randolph - Part of the "Jail Blazers" era; Perennial double-double machine (averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per contest)
Lloyd Neal - Member of 1977 Championship Team; Number retired by the Blazers
Larry Steele - Member of 1977 Championship Team; Number retired by the Blazers
Rick Adelman - Head Coach in two Finals appearances (1990 and 1992); Never lost less than 47 games in a season during five-year tenure; Led them to best overall regular season record in team history (63-19, 1990-91)
When you think of Trail Blazers coaches, the first one to pop in your head is Dr. Jack Ramsay.
Ramsay led the Blazers to their only championship (1977) in franchise history and has the longest tenure out of any other former head coach.
Ramsay had a pretty good ten-year career with the Blazers, going 453-367, a 55.2 winning percentage. He had only two losing seasons in his tenure, while also going to the postseason nine times.
He successfully built the championship team, even though they had just five players remaining from the previous season.
The season following their championship season, Ramsay coached the Blazers to 50 wins out of their first 60 games. Bill Walton would, however, go down with a season-ending injury, and the Blazers would get eliminated in the first round.
Unfortunately, he could have won more games and possibly more championships if he consistently had a healthy team. But with a lot of his players constantly going down, his teams weren't able to go deep in the postseason.
They were still great teams, nonetheless.
Ramsay was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Blazers coveted two picks in the 1989 NBA Draft. The 22nd and 36th overall selections.
With their first selection, the Blazers grabbed Byron Irvin, who played in a career 87 games, averaging a paltry 5.2 points in just 9.8 minutes per contest.
However, with their second round selection, they took Clifford Robinson, a very athletic 6'10" big man who could play both power forward and center. The former Connecticut Husky was also a great shooter, finishing 31st all-time in three-point field goals (1,253).
Robinson played in Portland for just eight seasons, but averaged over 20 points per game in a season three times (1993-96). Heck, he averaged a shade over 14 points per game in his worst season in Portland. That ain't too shabby, especially when he would play as the sixth man (he won the award for the 1992-93 season).
Although Robinson didn't have big rebounding or assisting numbers, he was a great shooter. He could be one of the best shooting big men of all-time, as he was a very accurate three-point threat.
Rasheed Wallace's Blazers career will always be downplayed, as he was part of the infamous "Jail Blazers" era.
However, Wallace was still a great player and like the player in the previous slide, he was a spectacular shooter from the outside. He was especially known for hitting big-time shots late in games.
Wallace took his team to the Western Conference Finals, but would lose in both series, failing to return to the NBA Finals.
During his time in Portland, he could be widely considered as the team's best player while he was there.
He was a perennial 16-18 point-per-game scorer, along with grabbing at least eight rebounds per contest.
Brandon Roy's selection is solely based on potential. The shooting guard has been in Portland since his rookie season and has been widely considered to be the face of the franchise.
Unfortunately, Roy has been hampered by injuries over the last couple of seasons, and he is not often talked about because of his skill and great shooting ability.
He was named Rookie of the Year for the 2006-07 season, after averaging 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and four assists per game.
Roy would then go on to average over 20 points per game in two of the next three seasons, while being voted into the All-Star Game all three times.
He was also considered to be one of the best all-around players in the game, as he was able to shoot lights out and rack up field goals. Roy has also been a solid rebounder and a great passer throughout his career.
However, he has been unable to get his team past the first round, as they have been eliminated during that round for the last three seasons.
If Roy could return healthy, the Blazers could have one of the best rosters in the Western Conference. A Roy-Matthews shooting guard combo could be one of the best in the league.
His best came during his junior season in the league, as he averaged 22.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game.
If Roy could go back to his old form, he could easily become one of the best Blazers players of all-time.
R.I.P. April 1, 1964 - August 25, 2008 (44 years old)
"Duck" was taken with the 33rd overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft by the Spurs and would later end up in Portland. He would show that he was a force to be reckoned with in the paint while he was playing in Portland.
He was a tremendous rebounder and could also put up decent offensive numbers.
Duckworth was selected to two All-Star games while playing for the Blazers, and was also voted the 1987-88 Most Improved Player.
He is more known for being the man to take over for their recent draft bust, Sam Bowie. With Duckworth playing better than Bowie, the Blazers decided that the latter was the odd man out in the situation.
Bowie would eventually be dealt, and the position was all Duckworth's.
He played roughly six-and-a-half seasons in Portland, with his best season coming in 1987-88 when he averaged 19.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Natt was originally selected by the New Jersey Nets with the eighth overall selection in the 1979 Draft but was dealt to the Blazers during his rookie season.
He would come out doing extremely well with the Blazers, averaging 20.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 25 games for his inaugural season.
He would considerably get better as the seasons wore on, with his best season coming in 1982-83, averaging 20.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Natt was a reliable starter for Portland during his five-and-a-half-year tenure.
Hollins played just four-and-a-half seasons in Portland, but he proved to be an important catalyst that helped lead the Blazers to a championship in the 1977 postseason.
The point guard was quintessential to the team's success, as he was often the team's leader in assists. It was his job to get the ball down low to Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas.
During that magical run in the postseason, Hollins came up very big and clutch in quite a few games that could have easily been lost by the Blazers.
But the young player was able to step up and help them win those games, eventually ending in their surprising upset of the 76ers in the Finals.
He was originally taken with the sixth overall selection in the 1975 NBA Draft and was the first point guard off the board.
During his rookie season, he was selected to be on the All-Rookie First team, while averaging 10.8 points and 4.1 assists per game.
Hollins was also elected to the All-Star Game in the 1976-77 season.
He was so instrumental to the Blazers that the franchise retired his No. 14 jersey on Apr. 18, 2007.
Hollins is currently the head coach for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers have held the first overall pick three times in their franchise's history. The second go-around turned out to be the best of the three, as Mychal Thompson proved to be a valuable big man for the Blazers during his tenure.
Thompson played seven seasons in Portland, averaging over double-digits in points for every single one of those seasons.
The forward-center averaged 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during his rookie season, while being elected to the All-Rookie team.
He was also statistically a great shooter, perennially shooting over 50 percent from the field. Standing at 6'10", Thompson was able to get more space from his defender and could shoot over other big man because of his length.
Thompson's best season came during his third season in the league. The big man set career-highs in two of the biggest categories, as he averaged a double-double for the first and only time in his career (20.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game).
He would then get traded to the Spurs prior to the 1986-87 season but was subsequently dealt to the Lakers that same year, too.
While in Los Angeles, Thompson would go on to collect two championship rings, something he wasn't able to capture during his time in a Blazers uniform.
Lucas spent the first two years of his career in the ABA, playing for the St. Louis Spirits and Kentucky Colonels.
After the ABA-NBA merger, Lucas was chosen second overall by the Blazers in the ABA Dispersal Draft.
During the 1976-77 season, Lucas led the Blazers in scoring, offensive rebounds, field goals, free throws, and minutes played. He, along with Bill Walton, would also help the Blazers to their first postseason appearance ever.
Lucas and Co. would sweep the powerful Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, then defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in the Finals with a 4-2 series victory.
During his career with the Blazers, he would be elected to three All-Star games. Lucas would also go on to be selected for the All-Defensive First Team (1977-78), the All-Defensive Second Team (1978-79), and the All-NBA Second Team (1977-78).
Predominantly known as an "enforcer" in the paint, Lucas was a great rebounder and a few players were scared to put their bodies in the paint.
His most unforgettable moment possibly came in Game 2 of the 1977 Finals. With the Blazers ahead in the game, they were going down for a fast break. Lionel Hollins missed the shot, as Portland's Bob Gross and Philly's Darryl Dawkins went up for the rebound.
They wrestled each other for the rebound, eventually falling to the floor. Gross and Dawkins squared off against each other with both benches, including coaches, clearing in the process.
Dawkins ran up court and tried to land a punch, but hit his teammate Doug Collins instead. As Dawkins reached mid-court, Lucas greeted him from behind with an elbow to the head. They were both ejected from the game.
Paxson was drafted with the 12th overall pick in 1979, and the Blazers didn't realize that they were getting a lights-out shooter.
He would perhaps become the leader of the team, as many pieces of their 1977 championship team were either traded or released.
With everything pretty much doing a 180 degree turn, it was up to Paxson to help solidify the scoring role.
He would play sparingly during his rookie season, averaging just a shy 6.2 points per game.
However, his scoring average would improve over the next three years, eventually climbing to a healthy average of 21.7 points per game in the 1982-83 season.
The following season, Paxson would go on to have another stellar season, averaging 21.3 points per game.
He would be selected to the 1983 and 1984 All-Star games and was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the 1983-84 season.
In some people's eyes, Paxson epitomized the post-championship Blazers teams, as he was arguably one of their best players in franchise history at the time of his retirement.
Paxson played a little more than eight seasons for the Blazers before moving on to the Boston Celtics and then eventually retiring prior to the 1990-91 season.
Petrie is best known as the Blazers' first selection in team history, as they picked him up with the eighth overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft.
Although he had a rather short NBA career, he was a lights out shooter that could go on a massive scoring run at any point during the game. Petrie was one of the most electrifying shooters of that time.
He played just six seasons in the NBA, all for the Blazers.
His rookie season could be argued as the best season for Petrie, as he averaged a gaudy 24.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. Petrie would eventually go on to share the award with a future Hall-of-Famer, Dave Cowens.
Petrie held the Blazers' individual scoring record for one game, which was accomplished twice by the guard. His record, however, would eventually get beaten by Damon Stoudamire who scored 54 in a game in 2005.
And I'm just going to throw in a little random fact here: Petrie is credited with being the first player to switch from the Converse athletic shoe to the Nike brand. The Converse brand was arguably the most popular during the 1970s.
He was traded to Atlanta after the 1975-76 season for Maurice Lucas, but he would never play for the Hawks, as he suffered a career-ending injury.
During his six-year tenure, Petrie averaged 21.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game for the Blazers.
Petrie would also go on to be elected to two All-Star Games. His No. 45 jersey has been retired by the team.
Porter could arguably be considered one of the best Blazers player in franchise history. Not only is he among the top, but he is also one of the most well-liked players in the team's history, too.
A highly-coveted point guard coming out of college, many teams in the middle of the first round looked at Porter. He was projected to go in the late teen's, but slipped down to 24th and was selected by the Blazers.
He played sparingly during his rookie season, but was given the starting reins for his sophomore season.
Porter would go on to hold the starting position for the next seven seasons and would be elected to two All-Star games and go on to the NBA Finals twice.
Porter was more well known for his passing abilities, rather than his shooting touch. From his second year in Portland, he would rank in the top 10 in assists for the next five seasons (1986-91).
He is the team's all-time leader in assists with 5,319 and is ranked 12th all-time in NBA history in assists (7,160).
The point guard also holds the NBA Finals record with fifteen consecutive free throws without a miss.
His best season, in my opinion, was 1987-88 when he averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. He would go on to average over 17 and 18 points per game in a few seasons, but that was the only season throughout his career that he averaged a double-double for the entire year.
Porter's No. 30 jersey was retired by the Blazers on Dec. 16, 2008.
Bet you didn't expect to see "The Glide" on this list, did you?
Coming out of college, Drexler was known to have great athleticism and speed on the court. He was considered a great finisher, but was not a great shooter.
The guard was chosen with the 14th overall selection in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Blazers, surprisingly having bust Rodney McCray selected before him.
After being selected in the draft, Drexler became a more well-rounded player, as he became an effective post player and a very good outside shooter.
Drexler was also known as a prolific leaper, competing in quite a few dunk contests in the 1980s.
He is also one of the most versatile players in NBA history, as he would consistently be ranked towards the top in points, assists, rebounds, and steals at his position.
He is also one of three players in the league's history to score at least 20,000 points, grab 6,000 rebounds, and dish out 6,000 assists (Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek).
Drexler is no doubt the best Blazers player in franchise history. He holds many of the team's all-time records, including points.
He is perhaps the biggest face of the franchise, as he turned the Blazers from a perennial first-round exit in the postseason to an NBA Championship contender.
At one point during his career, Drexler would average at least 20 points per game in six straight seasons, eclipsing 27 points per game twice.
As a Blazer, Drexler was selected to eight All-Star Games and was elected to the All-NBA Team four times.
His No. 22 jersey has been retired by the team, and he is also part of the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Before you jump out to any conclusions, hear me out on this. There has never really been any statistical great small forwards for the Blazers. Kersey wasn't an explosive player and there's no way that he will ever be a Hall-of-Famer, but he did put up quality numbers.
Drafted by the Blazers with the 46th overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, Kersey played 10 seasons for Portland, by far his longest tenure with a single team.
Kersey's best season came in 1987-88 when he averaged 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per contest.
Thrust into the rotation, Kersey was able to form a strong nucleus with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Kevin Duckworth, and Buck Williams.
He would become a role player and a starter on two of their NBA Finals appearances (1990 and 1992). They would lose both series, but they showed that they were a legitimate contender in the West at that point in time.
As time went on, Kersey would have to sit on the bench in favor of Clifford Robinson, a very athletic big man. Although he wasn't getting as many minutes he was used to, the Blazers would still throw Kersey in the game, explicitly for his energy level and his great work ethic.
Wicks was taken with the second overall selection in the 1971 NBA Draft by the Blazers, after they had to pay the Cleveland Cavaliers $250,000 not to select him.
The Blazers made the right choice, however, as Wicks would immediately come out and make an impact.
During his rookie season, he averaged 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, arguably the best season of his NBA career.
He would eventually be named the 1971-72 NBA Rookie of the Year and was selected to the 1972 All-Star game.
Wicks would go on to play for the Blazers until the 1975-76 season, but not before he put up some gaudy numbers.
The forward averaged over 20 points per game for his first four NBA seasons, including three of those being double-double seasons. He would also earn a total of four All-Star selections during his tenure with Portland.
He would also go on to set the team record for rebounds in a game (27), a record that still stands to this day.
Wicks averaged 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in his five seasons in a Blazers uniform.
Yet another surprise, huh?
Drexler may be the face of the franchise, but Walton is perhaps the most recognizable.
Walton was taken first overall by the Blazers in the 1974 NBA Draft, as he would eventually help the team to their first ever championship in 1977.
He was selected as the Finals MVP that year, as he averaged spectacular numbers.
His first two seasons with the Blazers were derailed by injuries, as the team would miss out on the playoffs both seasons.
But he would return the following season and play 65 games, eventually leading them to their improbable championship.
Walton led the NBA in rebounds per game and blocks per game and was voted to the NBA All-Star game, but did not participate in the festivities.
He was also named to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Second Team for his accomplishments that season.
Walton would also win the regular season MVP award for the 1977-78 season, after averaging 18.9 points, 13.2 rebounds, five assists, and 2.5 blocks per game. It would also be his one and only MVP award. He would also be selected to the All-NBA First Team and the All-Defensive First Team.
Walton definitely went down in the books as one of the greatest Blazers of all-time and it's a shame that we were not able to see him 100 percent healthy for his entire career.
His #32 jersey has been retired by the team and he is also part of the Naismith Hall of Fame.