Jordan for a Day: The greatest role player performances in Portland Trail Blazers history

Bonzi Wells, Portland Trail Blazers (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Gross /Allsport)
Bonzi Wells, Portland Trail Blazers (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Gross /Allsport) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Tom Owens, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Tom Owens. 34. Mar. 9th, 1979. vs. Pacers. 3

Final Stats:
— 37 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assist and 1 block on 13-of-20 FG, 11-of-11 FT in 42 minutes

— Mar. 9th, 1979

One odd fact from that game:
— Only 16 centers in NBA history have matched (or surpassed) Owens’ aforementioned stat line.

They say you aren’t really a Portland Trail Blazers fan until you’ve heard of Tom Owens. I’m not entirely sure who “they” are, but trust me on that.

For those unfamiliar, Tom Owens came to be Bill Walton’s premature successor in 1977-78, and he did his best “Big Red” impression, working to the tune of 17.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game over a two-year span. And in 1978-79, the fledgling Blazers needed every bit of that during their Playoff run.

The Blazers found themselves on the road in Indiana against a below-average Indiana Pacers team. Owens went out and produced a statistical line that we only see once a season or ten. Case in point: after Owens and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it, we had to wait 12 seasons for another big to do it again.

The Blazers lost the game, but not because of Owens or his frontcourt teammate, Mychal Thompson, he poured in 31 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists.

Owens went on to have a productive, 866-game career, averaging 11.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. His Portland tenure was marred by a self-trade to Seattle that left even his agent upset with him. Even so, he did more than his part to help Portland survive the free fall that came with losing Walton.