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
Victor Claver, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

Victor Claver, Spain

Compared to:

It’s safe to say, there’s no shortage of unusual things going on in this world today. A top-six team in the Western Conference is starting a 6-foot-5 center. People are still throwing pineapples on pizza. But I don’t think you know weird until you’ve seen the Portland Trail Blazers’ roster in 2012-13. It was a wacky year for a team in transition, and here were some of the highlights:

  • 15 players suited up for the Blazers that year. Seven of them shot under 40 percent. 
  • The team had seven players taller than its starting center. Nearly half the roster was out of the league by 2014-15.
  • The bench averaged 13.4 points per game.

In the months leading into the 2012-13 season, there was reason to be excited. Portland’s 2009 first-round pick, Victor Claver, was finally joining the team after spending two summers with the Valencia Basket.

According to Draft experts at the time, Portland was getting something similar to two-time All-Star Antawn Jamison, one of the NBA’s more underrated stretch bigs. To give you an idea: over a 12-year stretch from 2000 to 2012, Jamison averaged 20.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while hitting 1,069 3-pointers, before transitions into a role player in 2012-13.

Portland would’ve probably been better off with that 36-year-old Jamison.

I’ve been watching the Portland Trail Blazers religiously since 2008, and I can’t run off a Claver memory for you. My guess is that he was an extremely solid in Spain, but struggled to transition to the pros.

He played just 80 games over three seasons, shooting 39.8 percent from the field, 29.3 percent from 3, and 58.5 percent from the free throw line. So all of the specs from his Draft profile — the “quality court vision,” the “huge first step” — were likely true in his native country. Not as much so in the NBA, though.