The Portland Trail Blazers have always been known for offensive brilliance. But who is the best defensive player in Blazers history? Today, we spark the debate.
While it certainly can’t make up for the now two-month hiatus without Portland Trail Blazers basketball, the evolution of social media debates and trends have worked to fill the void. The mimetic trend for this week has centered around fans posting pictures of NBA teams’ vintage logos, and asking: “When you see this logo, which player comes to mind first?”
Thus far, I’ve drawn the misfortune of seeing: the old P-shaped Indiana Pacers logo, or the double-blue and red Detroit Pistons horse, two logos that rekindled my PTSD that came with seeing games that ended with 79-61 final scores on the family DVR, or watching helplessly as they eliminated childhood idol Allen Iverson year-after-year in the postseason.
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Many of the logos Twitter users have posted remind us of an era of smash-mouth toughness, and borderline-over-the-top defense — all things we don’t so readily associate with the Blazers.
Don’t leave just yet; this isn’t me insinuating the Portland Trail Blazers have never been a defensively-minded team. But sans-2011’s Roy-Aldridge transition, I can’t ever remember a Blazers team that relied on defensive execution or grind-it-out games to contend.
18 different teams have owned a Defensive Player of the Year at least once, and Portland hasn’t come feasibly-close in many of our lifetimes. There hasn’t been an All-Defensive First Teamer in this generation. Once has to go all the way back to Buck Williams to fit that criteria, and that came in 1990-91. But you know what we have had?
Top-10 scorers in each of our last nine seasons. Highlights in abundance. A rebuttal to the claim that “defense wins championships,” highlights and game-winners granting our sanity intact.
But all of that nonsense branches us into a discussion: is there a definitive “greatest defender in Portland Trail Blazers history?” Can we point to one player the way Atlanta fans can wag one in celebration of Dikembe Mutombo, or Orlando with Dwight Howard? With hope that this is indeed, an actual debate, here’s a look at both what the statistics, accolades and peers suggest about who owns the title.