Jan. 6, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford high fives a teammate during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 102-77. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Past Players Find Present Success

7 of the 11 players to leave Portland during, or following, the 2012 season landed on 2013 playoff teams. Of the other 4, 3 of them remain free agents. This means that almost every player that found a new home found a more successful one, but that doesn’t mean Portland’s turn isn’t rapidly approaching.

Raymond Felton (PG): New York Knicks
Felton was a cancerous presence for the Blazers. His attitude off the court propelled the dissolution of the team and his sporadic play on the court hindered Portland’s potential for victory. Good riddance.

Jamal Crawford (SG): Los Angeles Clippers
Crawford was equally damaging in the locker room, but at least he had talent to match his moxie. He just wasn’t a good fit in Portland, and understandably grew frustrated when forced into a backup point guard slot.

Marcus Camby (C): New York Knicks
I was sad to see Camby go, as were many Portland fans, but it was probably better for both parties in the long run. His age and injuries would have hurt Portland down the road, and New York has been good to him.

Joel Przybilla (C): Milwaukee Bucks
The Vanilla Gorilla was beloved in the Rose Garden, but, like Camby, his age was a concern. We were paying him peanuts anyway, and this year he rode the Milwaukee pine as a sideline presence.

Hasheem Thabeet (C): Oklahoma City Thunder
Drafted at #2 in 2009 between Blake Griffin and James Harden, the useless giraffe came to Portland’s doorstep in the Camby trade. It wasn’t hard to let him go, as he never lived up to his potential.

Kurt Thomas (C): New York Knicks / Free Agent
Thomas spent much of the season with the New York Knicks before being waived due to injury. At 40 years old, it was bound to happen. I feel for him, but Portland avoided that headache with his departure.

Gerald Wallace (SF): Brooklyn Nets
Once upon a time Crash was my favorite Blazer to watch. I hated to see him traded, but that transaction provided the Blazers with pending Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard, and a fresh start.

Each talent to evacuate the Rose City was a gift for Portland, and their success should not be scorned (well, maybe Felton’s). The Blazers have regrouped and continue to rebuild in the absence of their former pieces, many of whom are remembered fondly. Now Portland must put new pieces around the young core and form a roster that functions the way the 2012 team was always meant to. If this season has shown us nothing else, it is that the new crew will have their turn in the playoffs soon enough.

@davidmackaypdx | @ripcityproject | [email protected]

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