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Is Damian Lillard the greatest Trail Blazer of all time? Where Bucks star ranks in Portland’s GOAT debate

Who is the best Trail Blazer of all time?

For many years, it looked like Damian Lillard was inching inevitably closer to claiming that title, but his trade to the Bucks in the offseason marked the end of his time in Portland — for now, at least. Do his 11 seasons give him a strong enough resume to overtake some of the other legends who have suited up for the Blazers?

It’s a tough list to crack. The Trail Blazers have only ever won one championship, but the list of best players features an MVP, plus multi-time All-NBA and All-Star players.

Here’s how Lillard stacks up in the top five among a franchise that dates all the way back to the 1970s. 

MORE: Here’s the answer to solving the NBA’s scoring problem

Ranking the greatest Trail Blazers of all time

5. Terry Porter

Blazers accomplishments:

Porter played 10 seasons for the Blazers, finishing fourth in the franchise’s history in career games played, first in assists, second in steals and fourth in points.

Porter was excellent in other areas that aren’t as easily captured by the stats. He was a great leader, helping his teams reach the Finals twice as a steady hand at point guard. He was also a very good defender and one of the most clutch players in the league. 

Porter wasn’t the best Blazer in the history of the franchise, but he was a fan favorite. He had his No. 30 jersey retired in 2008. 

4. LaMarcus Aldridge

Blazers accomplishments:

Aldridge was acquired in a draft-day trade and played nine seasons for the Blazers. He is all over the franchise’s leaderboards, ranking first in rebounds, third in points and fourth in blocks.

LMA was one of the best scorers in the league during his peak. He had an automatic midrange jumper and was a tough bucket-getter in the post. While he never experienced high-level success in Portland, he did make the postseason five times. He also had some monster performances, including a 46-point, 18-rebound game to open the 2014 playoffs.

Aldridge had a good peak, ranking somewhere near the top 10 in the league. He finished 10th and seventh in MVP voting in his final two seasons for the Blazers, also making the All-NBA team in both years. 

Damian Lillard

3. Damian Lillard

Blazers accomplishments:

  • 7x All-Star
  • 7x All-NBA
  • Rookie of the Year

Lillard is clearly the best offensive player that the Blazers have ever had. He holds the franchise’s record in points, points per game, 3-pointers made and free throws made. He’s second in assists and fourth in assists per game. 

Lillard’s offense carried the Blazers to some memorable years, including a Conference Finals appearance in 2019. They were a perennial playoff team despite a lack of depth on most of those squads. 

Lillard might be the most iconic player in the team’s history. When you think of the Blazers, you think of him. But he didn’t have the best peak, nor did he have the career accomplishments of the players ahead of him. He never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting and he was generally considered somewhere in the 5-10 best players in the league during his prime years.

There were two other players before Lillard that young fans might not be familiar with who were the best or second-best players in the league. 

2. Bill Walton

Blazers accomplishments:

  • 1977 Finals MVP
  • 1978 NBA MVP
  • 2x All-NBA
  • 2x All-Star
  • 2x All-Defensive First Team 

Walton’s two-year stretch during the 1977 and 1978 seasons was the greatest in Blazers history. After finishing runner-up in MVP and winning the championship in 1977, he took home the award the next season. 

Unfortunately, foot injuries derailed Walton’s career after that point. He played only four seasons in a Blazers uniform, but he was the best player that they ever had at his peak. 

Walton is known more for his unique announcing today. Back in his playing days, he was one of the best defenders in the league, a great rebounder and scorer, and a good passer. He may have gone down as one of the all-time greats if he had stayed healthy. 

1. Clyde Drexler

Blazers accomplishments:

Drexler played 12 seasons for the Blazers, which makes him the longest-tenured player on this list. He holds franchise records in games played, steals and triple-doubles while ranking top-three in most other statistical categories. He had a ton of success on an individual and team level, highlighted by finishing second in MVP voting to Michael Jordan in 1992.

The Glide’s Blazers team eventually lost to Jordan’s Bulls in six games that season. He also took the Blazers to the Finals in 1990 but had to go to the Rockets to finally win his first ring. 

Drexler was a terrific dunker, a prolific scorer and a good two-way player. While he never made an All-Defensive team, he did receive votes in four seasons. He’s a Hall of Famer and the best to ever don the uniform. 

Honorable mention: Brandon Roy, Buck Williams, Jerome Kersey, Clifford Robinson, Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas Sabonis, John Lucas

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