Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers: Worst Draft Decision in NBA History
Portland Trail Blazers History and Highlights.
The Portland Trail Blazers compete in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the NBA. The team plays their home games in Moda Center and once held the record for the longest streak of soldout home games in any sport: 814 consecutive games from 1977 to 1995.
The team has played in three NBA Finals and won its only NBA championship in 1977.
Founding and Early Years
The Portland Trail Blazers joined the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team and immediately gained strong local support.
Team Leadership and Hall-of-Famers
Geoff Petrie and Sidney Wicks led Trail Blazers when they joined the NBA. However, the team failed to qualify for the playoffs in its first six seasons. Finally, in 1976, the team drafted Maurice Lucas and hired Jack Ramsay as head coach. The team already had future Hall of Famer Bill Walton, and these three proved to have the winning formula for the Blazers.
In the 1976-77 season, “Blazermania” took over the league, with the Portland Trail Blazers winning their first and only NBA championship. While it was no surprise that the Philadelphia 76ers had made it to the championship series, having posted the best record in the Eastern Conference, Portland’s appearance in the finals was a mild surprise. Even more so when they won the series in six games, with Walton winning the MVP trophy, recording 20 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, and 8 blocks in Game 6.
That team broke down, but the Blazers remained a contender in the West.
In 1983, the Portland Trail Blazers had the right to the 14th pick selecting their future franchise player Clyde Drexler. It was a brilliant move by the Blazers’ front office, but it affected the next draft significantly.
Blazers Make Worst NBA Draft, Passing Over Michael Jordan
In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers had the right to select second in the NBA Draft. Therefore, they had the opportunity to draft Michael Jordan, who was available then. However, already having Drexler at the shooting guard position, the Blazers decided to select center Sam Bowie, which is probably the worst draft decision of all time. Bowie was already handling numerous injuries, which quickly ended his career.
Despite the poor selection, the Blazers were still regulars in the NBA Playoffs, making the postseason for 21 straight years. With Drexler leading the team, the Blazers made it to two NBA Finals in three seasons but lost both.
In 1990, the Portland Trail Blazers survived a seven-game series against the Dallas Mavericks, which put them through to the second round for the first time after six consecutive early exits. Portland then defeated the Spurs and the Suns to advance to the NBA Finals. There, they stood no chance against the Detroit Pistons, losing in five games.
The following season, the Blazers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals in six games.
Blazers Lose to Bulls in 1993 NBA Championship Finals
In 1992-93, the Blazers came back even stronger defeating the Lakers, Suns, and Jazz on the way to the Finals against the Chicago Bulls. The Blazers responded after losing the first and third games, but the Bulls went on to win back-to-back games for their second consecutive championship.
Two seasons later, Drexler signed with the Houston Rockets, and it was time for changes in Portland. The Blazers lost in the opening round of the Playoffs in six consecutive years before building one of the strongest teams in recent history.
Portland Assembles All-Star Roster
In 1999, the Blazers had multiple All-Stars on their roster, such as Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Steve Smith, Shawn Kemp, Isaiah Rider, Dale Davis, Detlef Schremph, Damon Stoudemire, Ruben Patterson, and Arvidas Sabonis.
The Blazers cruised past the first two rounds of the Playoffs and then faced the mighty Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Portland had a 13-point lead in the last quarter of Game 7 in LA, but the Lakers managed to come back and advance.
The Modern Era
Heading into the 2000s, the Blazers’ Playoff streak came to an end, and the team struggled for a couple of years. Young guns Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were the next promising players for the Blazers. Unfortunately, Roy suffered major injuries in both knees and soon had to retire.
In the 2007 NBA Draft, the Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first overall pick, but just like Bowie, Oden’s career was cut short very soon.
Unlike the 2007 season, the Blazers were lucky in 2012 when they drafted point guard Damian Lillard out of Weber State with the sixth overall pick. Lillard was quickly paired with the shooting guard CJ McCollum, and they became one of the best guard duos in the NBA. However, with extreme competition in the West, they only made it to the conference finals once, where the Golden State Warriors swept them in 2019.
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