Portland Trail Blazers: Counting down the most interesting Draft player comparisons in team history

CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Luke Babbitt, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Luke Babbitt, Nevada: 2008-09 — 2009-10

Was compared to:

Only 18 teams in NBA history produced a higher offensive rating than the 2008-09 Portland Trail Blazers, and not won a championship. Anchored by two future All-Stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, Portland was quickly able to shift its focus towards putting legitimate pieces around them for the future.

One of the steps towards that came on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft, when the Portland Trail Blazers traded away fan favorite Martell Webster in order to acquire Luke Babbitt (the No. 16 selection) and Ryan Gomes.

In 2020, there’s no reason to discuss this day at all for Portland. One could grasp at straws and talk about who they should have left that night with (Babbitt and Elliot Williams), but the truth is, the bottom-half of this truth was a yikes. If draft comparisons meant anything, they certainly made the right move.

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The scoop on Nevada’s Luke Babbitt was that he was cut from the same cloth as that of Hall of Famer and 5-time All-Star Chris Mullin. Pure numbers wouldn’t disagree. In two years with Nevada, Babbitt averaged 19.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and had a 59.1 true shooting percentage.

And if not Mullin, there were Danilo Gallinari vibes, too. He fit the physical specs — both Mullin and Babbitt were left-handed, both had similar body types — they even had similar haircuts.

The Gallinari comparison is in some ways just as intriguing. In their analysis, NBC Chicago’s Paul Banks and Sports Bank’s David Kay said Babbitt was a better creator and dribbler than Gallinari, too.

As we’d learn some months later, that’s where the comparisons stopped. Babbitt did make his mark as a marksman, ranking 36th all-time in 3-point percentage, and hitting 394 3-pointers. But, he never averaged more than seven points per game in any of his eight seasons. If we’re searching for consolations, Babbitt did receive a Sixth Man of the Year vote that sparked a 2013 Twitter investigation, even though he only averaged 3.9 points per game… and even though he was Portland’s 12th man. So, there’s that. Let’s move on.