1999-2000 Blazers (59-23) Steve Smith (1 All-Star appearance) Scottie Pippen (7 All-Star appearances) Rasheed Wallace (4 All-Star appearances) DetlefSchrempf (3 All-Star appearances) Jermaine O’Neal (6 All-Star appearances but all after leaving Portland) Damon Stoudamire ArvydasSabonis Greg Anthony Briant Grant Bonzi Wells (before he went crazy)
The players named above are not players I selected for my fantasy team, nor are they a team I built in NBA Live or NBA 2K and no they are not an All-Star team. That my fellow readers is the core of the 1999-2000 Portland Trail Blazers. Mind you, the year before the roster was a little different; it had the likes of Isaiah Rider, Walt Williams and Jim Jackson which helped the Blazers dispatch the Utah Jazz in the playoffs. However, they were soundly defeated by a more cohesive San Antonio Spurs team; so they decided to bring in Steve Smith and Scottie Pippen at the expense of the players previously named, and move Rasheed Wallace back to power forward (he played the whole 1998-1999 season as a small forward). With such big pieces added to the team, critics argued that a team loaded with so many former and potential All-Stars would have too many egos to function and eventually self-destruct like Deathrow Records, with Rasheed playing the part of Suge Knight and Bonzi Wells the role of Tupac. However, these same critics had underestimated Pippen’s leadership skills and his ability to get every one on the same page (I was having this conversation the other day with my boy Karim, and Scottie Pippen one of the best small forward we have ever seen play; picture Magic’s leadership, Shawn Marion’s rebounding ability, Penny’s handle, Lebron’s court vision, Battier’s ability to defend anyone on the court and J.R. Smith’s reckless abandon when attacking the basket). Scottie Pippen took Rasheed Wallace and turned him into my second favorite power forward of all time in that one season; I mean Sheed punished dudes in the low block with his turnaround jumper and his footwork that every now and then got him straight to the rim for vicious dunks; have a look at the video evidence below.