Fresh off an All-Star Sunday (I don’t have a better name for it) that featured Fresh off an All-Star Sunday (I don’t have a better name for it) that featured

Simulating an All-Time Portland Trail Blazers 3-Point shootout

Gary Trent Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Gary Trent Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

Fresh off an All-Star Sunday (I don’t have a better name for it) that featured Anfernee Simons becoming the first Portland Trail Blazers player ever to win a slam dunk contest.
Damian Lillard scoring the most points by a Portland player ever in the actual game and treating the mid-court line like the three-point line while doing it, I had the thought, “if the only players in these events were former Blazers, who would be in them and who would be crowned the champions?”

Have no fear; I am here to persuade you into my way of thinking in completely hypothetical situations with little statistical evidence.

All-Time Portland Trail Blazers 3-Point shootout simulation

In this article, I will dive into the 3-Point Shootout (I think people have moved to call it the 3-Point Contest, but man, is that a boring title.)

Here is a quick rundown of how this competition will be judged.

Rule Number 1:
This will be an 8-man competition with 3 rounds, with half of the field being eliminated in each round. (Round 1 – 8 Shooters, Round 2 – 4 Shooters, Final Round – 2 Shooters)
Rule Number 2:
You must pick one season from a player, and the player must have been playing with Portland for that season.
Rule Number 3:
The player must have made more than 50 3’s in the season with the only exceptions being if the player played before the 3-Point line was established.
For Example: Drazen Petrovic was an excellent shooter but guess how many total 3’s he made in Portland, 35. Kiki Vandeweghe a real dark horse to win is also disqualified due to lack of volume.
Rule Number 4:
Damian Lillard is not allowed to compete.  Why is this rule in place? I am glad you asked. To make the contest more fun, anyone rightfully nicknamed Logo Lillard is already royalty in any shooting contest, so Dame can MC the event because I can’t pick against him.

The simulation will be run in my mind using a combination of real-life highlights, NBA 2k 3-Point Shootout and random intangibles that I have determined after one too many cups of coffee.

Just a quick bit of history before we dive into the competition.

The Blazers have had 9 players participate in the real event over the years – listed with their highest-scoring round from the event.

Seth Curry (16)
Damian Lillard (18)
C.J. McCollum (14)
Wesley Matthews (22)
Cliff Robinson (17)
Terry Porter (17 Lost in Final twice)
Danny Ainge (18)
Clyde Drexler (8)
Kiki Vandeweghe (12)

Well, that is enough with reality; let’s take a look at the candidates I considered for the fictional event. (All stats according to basketball reference.)

73-74 Geoff Petrie (The 3 Point line wasn’t around yet but he was a sniper)
90-91 Danny Ainge (40.6% on 3.1 attempts)
92-93 Terry Porter (41.4% on 4.3 attempts)
95-96 Cliff Robinson (37.8% on 6 attempts) (I had to do a double-take on this, this was one of the seasons when the 3-Point line was shorter.) 
99-00 Steve Smith (39.8% on 2.9 attempts)
00-01 Greg Anthony (40.9% on 2.7 attempts)
03-04 Damon Stoudamire (36.5% on 5.2 attempts)
04-05 Nick Van Exel (38.9% on 4.8 attempts)
07-08 Martell Webster (38.8% on 4.2 attempts)
07-08 James Jones (44.4% on 3.5 attempts)
08-09 Rudy Fernandez (39.9% on 5.1 attempts)
08-09 Steve Blake (42.7% on 4.6 attempts)
08-09 Brandon Roy (37.7% on 2.8 attempts)
09-10 Nicolas Batum (40.9% on 3.6 attempts)
14-15 Wes Matthews (38.9% on 7.4 attempts)
16-17 Allen Crabbe (44.4% on 3.8 attempts)
18-19 Seth Curry (45% on 3.4 attempts)
19-20 Carmelo Anthony (38.5% on 3.9 attempts)
20-21 Gary Trent Jr. (40.6% on 5.6 attempts)
20-21 CJ McCollum (44.1% on 11 attempts) (He has only made 63 so far this season but I asked the guy who made the rules and he allowed it.)

The list of players who narrowly missed the cut included Clyde Drexler (not great 3 pt stats), Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, Rasheed Wallace, Derek and Kenny Anderson and Meyers Leonard.

Now it is time to cut the 20 candidates down to the 8 competitors.
Easy Choices:
Terry Porter, Wesley Matthews, C.J. McCollum.
Fan Votes:
Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Roy.
Just Made the Cut:
Gary Trent Jr., Rudy Fernandez, Geoff Petrie (winning 2 out of 3 in rock paper scissors to beat out Nick Van Exel).

We now have our 8 contestants.
Unfortunately, in this realm all players shall not all wear the same jersey (Rule 5) so they are all wearing their college uniforms (why don’t they do this anyway).

Also, very unfortunate, NBA 2k21 only allows 6 players in the 3-Point Shootout so I am mentally simulating Geoff Petrie and Rudy Fernandez’s rounds in my head.

Here is how the scorecard came out after round one.

Gary Trent Jr. – 20
C.J. McCollum – 18
Carmelo Anthony – 17
Geoff Petrie – 17

Terry Porter – 15
Wesley Matthews – 15
Brandon Roy – 13
Rudy Fernandez – 11

First Round Highlights – Geoff Petrie wearing converse basketball shoes, short shorts, and a Princeton jersey while Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple plays. Rudy Fernandez, no longer used to the NBA 3-point line, launches up a couple of air balls before finding the range.  Carmelo Anthony in the Syracuse Orange hits the last money ball to break the tie with Matthews and Porter.

Here is a look at the second-round scorecard.

C.J. McCollum – 19
Carmelo Anthony – 16

Gary Trent Jr. – 13
Geoff Petrie – 9

Second Round Highlights – Round one went so well that Geoff Petrie requested I would mentally simulate his round again, big mistake on his part. Gary Trent Jr. tries to trash talk Melo who shoots the first money ball and turns around and looks him right in the eyes as it swishes instantly taking the mental advantage and riding that wave to the finals (This is another example of my mental simulation taking some liberties with the information). Geoff Petrie loses his shoe (the curse of the low tops), and he walks off the court as Drift Away by Dobie Gray plays.

The stage is set for the championship, legs are tired, adrenaline is high.
Dame D.O.L.L.A. performs to give a quick break and hype the Rose Garden crowd (yes, I know that it is no longer called the Rose Garden).

C.J. McCollum – 16

Carmelo Anthony – 15

Highlights – I never thought I would be fully engaged watching the computer simulate a 3-Point Shootout on a video game, but the finals lived up to the hype.

Melo goes first and puts up 15.

C.J. follows, and it all comes down to the last shot. But just like he did against the Rockets this year or in game 7 against the Nuggets, he hits the bottom of the net.

Comparing different eras and blindly guessing how it would turn out is a pretty futile exercise in most cases. Honestly, my only regret is that I wasn’t able to fit more songs in from 1973.

What is made clear doing an exercise like this is how special it is that Portland has found arguably the two greatest shooters in the franchise’s history at the same time, starting in the same backcourt, and that they are almost the same age. The amount of shooting that is around them is also special. Yes, the league has gone to a primarily 3’s and layups league, but up and down this year’s iteration of the Blazers team, there is shooting at every position.

When you have that kind of shooting paired with the best closer in basketball, you give yourself a chance to beat any team on any given night.

Part II we will dive into the All-Time Trail Blazers Slam Dunk Contest (I’ll give you a hint, the guy that just won the actual dunk contest will be involved).

Next. Breaking down the Portland Trail Blazers rotation at the All-Star break. dark