Every year, I spend the week leading up to NBA All-Star Weekend figuring out my exact viewing plans. Where I’ll be watching it, who I’ll be watching it with, what we’ll be eating, and so on.
This year, I’ve channeled my inner Portland Trail Blazer fan and compiled a fantasy All-Star Saturday night made up of the best to ever wear the red, black, white and silver. I’ve followed the rules of the 2017 NBA All-Star Events, meaning that I’ve chosen four participants for the Slam Dunk Contest, eight for the 3-Point Contest, and eight for the Skills Challenge. Honorable mentions have been included. Participants are in no specific order.
Without further ado, here are my selections for the all-Trail Blazers, all-time, All-Star Weekend.
Drexler is known as one of the greatest Slam Dunk Contest participants to never win a slam dunk title. It probably didn’t help that he was facing off against the likes of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Kenny Walker. Still, his nickname is ‘The Glide’. What more can I say?
Kersey brought NBA fans around the world one of the most memorable moments dunk contests of all-time when he faced off against Michael Jordan in the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest. His nickname of ‘Mercy’ was rather fitting, considering how hard he threw down his slams.
The nickname game continues with Will “The Thrill” Barton. The 6’5″ shooting guard has a reputation for having the skill set of a street baller, and, given the right opportunity, he’ll show off that flash above the rim! While his 2016 Dunk Contest performance as a Denver Nugget was a bit underwhelming, Rip City will always remember his high-flying in-game ability.
Lillard is the shortest of the bunch here at only 6’3″, but boy can he drop the anvil! I was a bit disappointed that his only Slam Dunk Contest appearance occurred in a year featuring some whack rule changes, including a ‘freestyle’ period. I know that the entire NBA universe stood up when he threw down that between the legs slam, though. Nobody saw that coming.
Honorable Mentions: Rudy Fernandez, Billy Ray Bates, Mason Plumlee, James “Hollywood” Robinson, Gerald Wallace.
With a nickname like ‘3J’, how could one possibly leave him out of the 3-Point Contest? With his participation in the 2016 and 2017 contests, C.J. becomes the first Trail Blazer in history to participate in the contest for two consecutive years. He also features the second best three-point percentage in Trail Blazers history over his career, shooting .409 from beyond the arc.
One could argue that Steve Blake is, statistically, the best long-range shooter that’s ever played for the Trail Blazers. Over his five-season tenure in Portland, Blake shot an efficient .398 from three with 1236 three-pointers attempted. Blake features the highest three-point percentage for anybody who has attempted over 1050 from beyond the arc in a Blazers jersey.
Petrovic was a European icon, having dropped 112 points by himself in a 1985 Yugoslavian League game. However, in Portland, he found himself in a logjam at the shooting guard position behind Clyde Drexler, Danny Ainge, and Walter Davis. After expressing his discontent with his role, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets where he thrived as a phenomenal shooter. During his time with Portland, Petrovic shot .438 from three, off of 80 attempts.
You know, why not? Let’s throw ‘Sheed into the mix! Over his eight seasons in Portland, Rasheed Wallace attempted 1112 three balls, connecting on .335 percent of those shots. His sharpshooting ability became apparent over the last three and a half years of his career in Portland, having drained 335 triples over that span of time. Plus, who doesn’t love watching big fellas with big personalities drain some deep shots?
What a steal Matthews had proven to be for Portland. After signing the undrafted Marquette product to a 5-year, $32.5-million offer sheet, an amount the Utah Jazz were not willing to match, Matthews became an instant impact for the Trail Blazers. Included in his diverse skill-set was a knack for dropping down triples. ‘Iron Man’ shot .394 off of 2096 three-point attempts over his five seasons in Portland.
There’s a lot more to Dame’s legacy as a three-point threat in Portland than his memorable 0.9 fourth quarter buzzer beater against the Houston Rockets in 2014. This shot goes down as one of the most clutch threes in history, advancing the Trail Blazers to the second round of the NBA playoffs. However, Lillard has shot a respectable .367 from deep, with franchise records in both three-pointers attempted (2611) and three-pointers made (957) in only 4 and a half years.
Porter is a three-time NBA 3-Point Contest participant, having advanced to the final round two out of his three visits. Although he never took the title, he provided some great performances. His in-game shooting was pretty dang good too, providing the Trail Blazers with a dependable three-point option. Porter shot a .385 average over his 10-season tenure in Portland.
Portland native Damon Stoudamire started out his career in Toronto but returned to Rip City for his third year in the NBA. He brought along with him a three-point shooting ability that would put him among the best in Trail Blazer history. Over eight seasons, ‘Mighty Mouse’ shot .359 from beyond the arc, with 1998 attempted three-pointers.
Honorable Mentions: James Jones, Cliff Robinson, Martell Webster, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez, Steve Kerr, Tracy Murray, Steve Smith, Nicolas Batum, Clyde Drexler, Ime Udoka, Greg Anthony, Patty Mills.
There’s nothing more bittersweet for fans of the Portland Trail Blazers than the career and overall legacy of ‘The Natural.’ Brandon Roy was one of the best all-around players that this generation has ever witnessed, often recognized among the names of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade during the prime of his career in 2008-2009. An unfortunate knee injury, which would have threatened his long-term ability to walk, lead to his demise. Roy will forever be recognized as one of the best to ever wear a Blazers jersey.
He’s baaaaaaack! Lillard is everywhere in this mock event, just as he was at the 2014 All-Star Weekend when he became the first player to ever participate in all five major events. Dame is an offensive powerhouse point guard, with lethal speed and dependable shooting; perfect for the Skills Challenge.
Porter is the all-time assist leader for the Trail Blazers, finishing his career with 5319 total assists for Portland. Needless to say, his court vision and passing accuracy were exceptional; perfectly paired with his fantastic shooting ability. It’s safe to say that Terry Porter is one the most efficient guards in Trail Blazer history.
Take a look in the history books for the Portland Trail Blazers, and you’ll see a whole lot of Clyde Drexler. However, his legacy will always be tainted by his inability to bring a championship to Portland, while leaving to join the Houston Rockets, where he won rings in both 1994 and 1995. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t an all-around unstoppable force during his 12-season career in Portland.
‘Hot Rod’ was a journeyman in the NBA, having played for nine different teams over his impressive 20-season career. This Basketball Hall of Fame member is the standard for a traditional point guard, featuring a skill-set complete with exceptional passing, high mobility, and efficient scoring. Strickland is the franchise leader in assists per game, averaging 8.2 over his five years in Portland.
‘Mighty Mouse’ is back for more, and it’s all thanks to his consistent play as Rip City’s starting point. With 482 career starts in Portland, Stoudamire solidified himself as one of the best to do it. Stoudamire can be found in the franchise record books for Portland, sitting comfortably at the number three spot for career assists (3018).
Trail Blazer fans will always wonder what could have been if Sabas would have begun his career in Portland at a younger age. Instead, Sabonis played his first career NBA game for Portland in 1995 at the age of 31. The Lithuanian legend could do it all, helping start off the prototype European big man trend that we see so often in today’s NBA.
Trail Blazers legend Geoff Petrie makes his first and only appearance in this mock event as a participant in the Skills Challenge. Petrie played only six years in the NBA, all in Portland. In those six years, Petrie made his presence known with all-around efficient play. Petrie averaged the fourth most points in Trail Blazers history, at 21.8 points per game.
Honorable mentions: Isiah Rider, Kelvin Ransey, Darnell Valentine, C.J. McCollum, Scottie Pippen, Andre Miller, Jim Paxson, Kenny Anderson.