Portland Trailblazers All-Forgotten Team

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Portland Trailblazers All-Forgotten Team

The names roll off the tongue.

Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Mychal Thompson, Jim Paxson, Kiki Vandeweghe, Clyde Drexler, Rasheed Wallace, Brandon Roy.

Portland has been blessed with large numbers of players who have played at All-Star levels, and led Portland to playoff success of varying levels. 

But do you remember Adrian Branch? How about Richard Anderson? Lamont Strothers? In many ways, these were players almost as important in Portland throughout the years.

So it is time to look back at Portland history and the Portland All-Forgotten Team.

 

Starting at Center would have to be Alaa Abdelnaby. After Portland went to the Finals in 1989-1990, and Kevin Duckworth was taken out of his game by All-Time Bad Boy and dirty player Bill Laimbeer, Portland was looking for help up front.

Where better to turn than a well-coached Duke player? Enter Alaa. 

Expected to play serious minutes, he essentially killed his Portland career in one unforgettable moment. Summoned into the game by Coach Rick Adelman, Alaa reported to the scorers table, ripped off his warm-ups—and discovered he had forgotten to put on his jersey. Bye-bye now.

 

Power forward had a lot of contenders. Who played for Portland, showed promise, and now is largely forgotten? I would have to go with Richard Anderson. At 6'10" and 240 lbs., he had the size to bang and athleticism to spare.

Unfortunately for Anderson, he also had range. In fact, his personalized license plate referenced his three=point ability. When his shot stopped falling, Portland stopped calling and his Portland career was over.

 

Small forward is another look back at the glory years. Portland was stacked at the small forward position. While Jerome Kersey started and Cliff Robinson was about to burst onto the scene, and Clyde Drexler occasionally slid into the slot, the guy who often got Blazer fans pumped was a lefty who could shoot the lights out and provide instant offense.

Adrian Branch was a huge fan favorite. People talked about how Kersey was no longer needed, about keeping Clyde in the shooting guard slot full time. Uh, how did that work out for you, Portland? One and done for Mr. Branch, a guy who got the blood pumping but didn't stick around.

 

Guard brings us the Brewer boys, Jim and Ron. Ron was a member of the All-Rookie team back in '78-79. Jim played in Portland for only one year, '79-80. In a town noted for its brew-pubs, could there be a better named backcourt than Brewer and Brewer?

 

Coming off the bench we would have to start with Lamont Strothers, a guy some people believe cost Portland the Championship against the Bulls in '91-92. Yeah, I know—in a series full of names like Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, and Terry Porter, Lamont Strothers is a difference maker? Do you even remember him?

That is exactly the point. Of course nobody remembers him. The final roster spot came down to whether Portland would keep Strothers or seldom-used defensive specialist Danny Young. The high-end upside of Strothers ended up being the deciding factor as Portland kept him. 

Then, in the playoffs when Portland needed a steady, defensive-minded guard for a few minutes, they had no Danny Ainge but did have untested, untrusted guard Lamont Strothers. After the Bulls won in six, luminaries such as Rick Adelman lamented key stretches where Portland's reserves turned the ball over and gave up big numbers to Bulls reserves. After that, Portland could not forget Strothers fast enough.

 

So often fans see flashes, get excited about potential and start agitating for change. They did it in the cases of Anderson, Branch, Strothers, Kelvin Cato, Rick Brunson, and so forth.

Some players fans have agitated for are remembered still—Wally Walker, Drazen Petrovic, Robert Pack, and Jermaine O'Neal come readily to mind—but as a general rule, the players fans get over excited for have short, forgettable careers. 

Line up Portland's All-Forgotten Team against the All-Forgotten Team of any other franchise and they would go .500. As in, 500 fans would show up, 500 shots would be taken, and 500 points would be scored.

There is a reason these guys were forgotten.

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