Uncle Pete's Fantasy Blazer Basketball Team
To celebrate the Blazers advancing past the first round of the NBA playoffs in 14 years and now on the brink of elimination in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs I give you 'Uncle Pete's Fantasy Blazer Basketball Team' illustrated by yours truly. This ultimate Trailblazers team consists of players past and present.
My major criterion was to stay clear of putting together a team that would be in essence a retread of the early 80s and decade long 90s Blazers. Naturally I included a proper coaching staff because great coaches make great players and great players help make the coach.
I went with the maximum 15 man NBA roster. Twelve active players can only play but as a fantasy owner you have to think of injuries. I thought long and hard of how the team chemistry would happen (it would totally self-destruct, of course) but I would have the Zen-master, Phil Jackson on speed dial. And since they would be winning all the time it wouldn't matter. The salary cap isn't a problem because this is Blazer hyperbole. All fake but all awesome.
Without any further ado introducing your Portland Trailblazers...
Reggie Miller called him one of the best shooters of the game ever. He also said that he smelled really bad. In fact a lot of other players said the same thing and opponents couldn't understand a word that he said when trash-talking. That was probably a tactic to give him a little of space to shoot the ball.
Iron Curtain Sabas
Arvydas Sabonis came into the league as a rookie close to the end of his basketball career after being behind the Iron-Curtain. Sabas was hampered by age and lack of mobility due to previous injuries. He still made an impact on the Blazers for being a great shooting and creative passing center. If cold war politics didn't keep the large Lithuanian away during his prime from the NBA there may have been 2 or 3 league championship banners hanging from the Memorial Coliseum rafters.
The original Trailblazer, Geoff Petrie
One of Portland's first draft picks. The guy scored 51 points a couple of times and generally averaged over 21 points per game. They say 'A good offense is a strong defense'. This guy is an example of, 'A good offense is a good offense'.
The Natural, Brandon Roy
I would want B-Roy, three-time NBA All-Star and Rookie-of-the-Year on my team. This guy likes to bring the 4th quarter heroics and single-handedly win playoff games. Not bad for a guy who was essentially a walking injury.
Clyde 'The Glide' Drexler
It's Clyde. Lots of points. Lots of triple-doubles. Lots of All-Star appearances. So it makes sense that he would be on the fantasy Blazer team. Close to the same level as the G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan. So that ain't all bad.
Big Red doesn't like to hurt animals and he's a big fan of the Grateful Dead and Phish. Plus he's got a lot of trophy hardware for being hurt much of the time in his playing career. He had to overcome a lot to play on the court and it says something that he also overcame a stuttering problem to become a television color-commentary broadcaster.
The General, Brian Grant
One of the nicest guys to lock down Karl 'The Mailman' Malone. Rock solid defense paired up with mental toughness. And add a J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award to the mix and you got a place on 'Uncle Pete's Blazer Team'.
A prolific shooter from outside and inside he became the first guy to score 10,003 points for the Blazers franchise and then leave for the Celtics. Not a bad way to go out.
This guy will score, rebound and pass better than you. And he will be on your back if you're not helping the team win. You need a competitor on the team and if MJ isn't available this guy will fit the bill.
This consummate point guard likes handing out threes and assists like a silent assassin. You don't hear much of the guy until the end of the game where you realized he has a full stat sheet and made his team look good. Big clutch shots help you realize the daggers he is throwing.
The twilight of Scottie Pippen's career is better than most players' best. And the guy didn't even really want to be in Portland. But when he puts on the Blazer jersey he would do all the little things that would make you win your game. Defense, offense, deflections, steals and all those little things in-between.
This guy doesn't give a hoot. Play him off his natural position? Why not? Have him coming off the bench? No problem. Start him? He can handle the pressure. He's like the kid at the park who just wants to play all-day everyday. And sometimes he's the kid who just plays the entire game just to fill up 'steals' on the stat sheet instead of 'points'.
I didn't really like LaMarcus Aldridge at the beginning, but he just gets better and better. The guy can run and pull a nice little jumper. Back you down, spin around with a unblockable fading shot. Reminds me a little of Dirk Nowitzki's career. A little soft at the beginning of the career but grows into a lethal scoring machine.
When I look at this Z-Bos soft features I always think of his soft shooting touch. Rebounding and scoring in bunches. Good footwork, talented, and athletic. He didn't shrink from the opportunity to replace starters and put up some solid numbers. Solid for a baby-face.
Rasheed Wallace comes in 2 flavors. Volatile and good. He should have been a little more selfish when the game needed him. But giving big time 3-pointers and tide turning buckets. Blocking and rebounding are all overshadowed because he couldn't work with the refs. He knew his priorities so cut-the-check for the guy.
Coaching staff includes:
Dr. Jack Ramsay
The late Hall-of-Fame coach, Jack Ramsay. What can you say? He took the reigns of the Blazers in his first year and won the Big Kahuna. His no-nonsense way of training the championship team might have been derived from being a Navy underwater demolitions expert. You read that right. He was a Navy SEAL before they even existed.
First game as a Blazer Kiki put up 47 points. Not bad for a guy who would play with a lot of pain. He had one move (the jab step) and it would help him average 20 points a game. One move.
Opponents beware of 'The Enforcer'. Jabs and uppercuts are part of this guy's repertoire. Tough and strong. But don't forget his game both inside and outside. Because if you do it will be too late.
At this moment the Blazers have current rising stars. Recently, Damian Lillard seems to have an uncanny ability to mimic B-Roy's legendary big shots. Makes for exciting basketball.
With regards to the ultimate team, I would easily place Buck Williams, Duckworth and Kersey in this fantasy team. They are worthy All-Stars but it would start resemble the Blazers of the early 90s. I wanted a little variety both in personalities and storied sport ability. Plus I wanted a variety of Trailblazers to illustrate.
Hope you guys enjoyed this tiny project and I leave you with this: