Portland Trail Blazers: 30 greatest players in franchise history
It may have been over 40 years since the last time the Portland Trail Blazers won an NBA championship, but the all-time-greatest list of Blazers is still quite impressive.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been a consistently good team throughout their 48-year history, making the playoffs 33 times.
After missing the postseason for six consecutive years immediately following franchise’s inception in 1970, the Trail Blazers have played playoff basketball in 33 of the last 42 seasons — an impressive streak for any franchise.
The issues have instead come once in the playoffs, being knocked out in the first round in 23 of those 33 appearances.
But despite the playoff struggles, there have been a host of good players that have suited up in Portland. We’re here to discuss the 30 best Trail Blazers players of all-time.
There will be some debate, no doubt, but here are the guidelines followed in this ranking:
- We only considered their years in a Blazers uniform. Scottie Pippen would rank higher on a Chicago Bulls list, of course.
- Injuries play a factor, albeit only to a certain extent. Bill Walton was probably at least the second-best player overall to play for the Blazers, but not being on the court enough hurts his stock.
- Team success and longevity matter, too. Some players were really good for a short amount of time on good teams, while others were solid over a longer stretches on both good and bad squads. Both can make it on to this list.
Without further ado, let’s get to it with No. 30.
Point Guard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Played five seasons with Trail Blazers (1975-79)
- Averaged 13.9 points and 4.4 assists per game
- 1x All-Star and 1x NBA champion with Trail Blazers
Lionel Hollins was the No. 6 pick in the 1975 NBA draft by the Trail Blazers out of Arizona State University and immediately stepped into a key role, averaging 25.6 minutes per game as a rookie.
Hollins had mixed results, shooting just 42.1 percent from the floor that season and leading a team that went just 37-45, despite getting 58 games from Bill Walton and solid scoring seasons from Geoff Petrie and Sidney Wicks — all three of whom you’ll find on this countdown here shortly.
But Hollins steadily improved, putting up 14.7 points and 4.1 assist per game in his second season as a pro. He helped the Trail Blazers to 49 regular season wins and an NBA Finals win over the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977. Hollins boosted his own play, bumping his scoring average to 17.3 points per game in the playoffs, which was good enough for third on the team.
The following year, Hollins was named to his only All-Star team while contributing a career-high 15.9 points and 4.7 assists per game. The Trail Blazers had a stellar regular season, winning 58 games, but the season came crashing down in the playoffs with a first round loss to the the Seattle SuperSonics in just six games.
Hollins bounced around quite a bit in the later stages of his career, spending two-plus years with Philadelphia and one season each with the San Diego Clippers, the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets.
Hollins was a key contributor to Portland’s lone title-winning squad, and the one-time All-Star has his No. 14 retired by the Trail Blazers. That’s enough to get him on to our list.