Blazers try to avoid spelling S-A-M B-O-W-I-E

It's years-old legend now, but in 1984 the Blazers arguably made the worst NBA draft pick of all time when they picked future washout Sam Bowie over future all-universe Michael Jordan.

Today, in the NBA Draft, the Blazers - the league's worst team - traded away Sebastian Telfair (previously hailed as the team's savior) to the Boston Celtics. From ESPN:

The Boston Celtics acquired second-year Portland Trail Blazers point guard Sebastian Telfair, center Theo Ratliff and a 2008 second-round pick for the No. 7 pick in Wednesday's NBA draft, as well as forward Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau, multiple sources told

Later, they traded up from the #4 pick to the #2 pick overall - and still didn't pick Northwest favorite and Gonzaga star Adam Morrison:

The Bulls and Blazers have agreed to swap draft picks, a league source told The Bulls will send the No. 2 pick to the Blazers for the No. 4 pick and Viktor Khryapa. The Bulls selected LaMarcus Aldridge for Portland and the Blazers chose the pick for Chicago -- Tyrus Thomas. Aldridge is the guy the Blazers wanted all along and had him ranked as the top player on their board. Blazers fans are going to go crazy when they find out that Portland passed on Adam Morrison...

Of course, the Blazers have been - for years - ranked among the least fan-friendly teams in the NBA.

Update: With their last pick of the first round (their third), the Blazers picked Joel Freeland - a player from England who was discovered while working as a grocery bagger. Some reports suggest he may not even report to the Blazers for a couple of years. The Blazers also paid the Suns hard cash for the rights to Sergio Rodriguez, a player from Spain.


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    I really like all the moves. Aldridge is a big body with some decent moves. He may need to bulk up a bit, but he should be really good in a year or so. Randy Foye can shoot lights out and he's not TOO small. Dickau was a neat local kid with some skills who I was sad to see go two years ago. And LaFrentz is an interesting option as a big guy who can shoot and help spread the floor.

    Best of all, we got rid of Telfair who was too small, couldn't defend my grandmother, and made way too many mistakes. Also Ratliff , much as I liked him, was being paid way too much long term to sit on the injured list.

    Morrison might have worked out, but he just didn;t seem good enough all-around. Even in college, his rebounding was mediocre and his defense questionable. Those problems would've only gotten worse when forced to deal with bigger, faster players in the NBA. Sure, he could shoot, which is nice, but I think he's gonna be a 15ppg player who's minutes are limited because he's a liability on D and weak on the boards.

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    Oh, oops, I see we just swapped Foye for Brandon Roy. I liked Foye's shooting, but Roy is definitely the better all-around player and may be the most NBA-ready player in the draft. I dunno what else the Blazers threw in to make that happen, but I'm now really getting psyched about the way this is working out. The Blazers are wheeling and dealing even more than in the Whitsitt years, but unlike then all the moves make sense. The last two blazer picks should be coming up soon; let's see what they do with them...

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    But the link lists the number 8 pick as the worst...what is this, Fox News? ;-)

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    Worst pick, biggest disappointment, whatever:

    Biggest Disappointment: Sam Bowie had already missed two seasons in college when Portland picked him No. 2, but he appeared to have put his injury woes behind him after playing 34 games his senior year at Kentucky. He hadn't. A great talent whose career was sadly sabotaged by injury, Bowie played just 511 games in 10 NBA seasons, averaging 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds.
  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    I'm sorry to see Viktor Kryapa go, as he will continue to develop and become a fine player in the Jerome Kersey mold. Otherwise, this was a great draft day for the Blazers. Aldridge and Roy were the only two players I liked in this draft, and Portland got both of them.

    It won't blossom next year. In the fall, the Blazers will still have to deal with Darius and Zach. Roy may be NBA ready, but he will have to earn his way into the line-up with Martell, Jared Jack, Steve Black and Juan Dixon all ahead of him initially. But by the fall of 2008, we could have a team of real solid guys on the floor: Jack, Roy, Webster (at the 3, maybe bulked up a bit), Aldridge and Pryzbilla, who might want to stick around now that the team has some hope. Or Randolph may get with the program and keep his starting job.

    It seems that Nate McMillan had a lot of say in who got drafted and traded. Let's only hope he can figure out a way to get rid of Miles.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Adam Morrison makes an interesting contrast with the foreign- er, international players. It's like the Blazers have decided to avoid their past clashes with american urban culture by going overseas.

    Personally I always like the Blazer's using real, local folks in the starting line-up, but maybe that's an example of a mindset that has left the team in a rut. Ultimately, even if they do make good choices now, the fan experience won't improve until it isn't managed by people that think the Microsoft business model is good for consumers. I find the Blazer fan experince and the Windows user experience to be virtually identical. So it's not much of a surprise that the management could wheel and deal if they actually cared about the outcome, but it'll probably take selling the team and arena to someone like Cuban before we'll see a sea change in the team.

  • Mike S (unverified)

    I also think they made some decent picks. Roy is supposed to be quite good so that's exciting. I don't mind them going with more local players (Roy, Dickau). I think they should scoop up Portlander Aaron Miles from the development league to add another. I thought Miles did pretty good backing up Baron Davis last year and don't really understand why GS stopped playing him and then cut him in January.

    They should give him a chance. He was a great kid, too.

  • Norm! (unverified)

    What is this Who cares? What do the Blazers have to do with progressive politics?

    Apparently, we won the legislature and the governorship. The war is over. We all have family-wage jobs, excellent education, comprehensive healthcare, and secure retirement. So, yes, lets use this site to babble about the Blazers.

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    Fantastic! I'm ready to go buy some tickets.

    The Blazers knocked themselves out, got two of the top three players available in the draft and didn't have to sacrifice too much in the process. Interesting vid clip of ESPN's analysis here.

    And how about this. From LaMarcus Aldridge: "Portland is the team I wanted to play for," Aldridge said. "I like Coach Nate (McMillan) and his vision. He's about hard work and holding his players accountable. I feel like I'm going to fit in."

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    Here's what I want. For the Blazers to settle on a core set of players whose skills will improve over time. And who don't always act like jerks and speed and get in the headlines for drugs. That's all. A core of 8 folks or so, and make a few changes, so we can learn to care about the players over time.

    Hopefully this crew can be that.

  • Albert (unverified)

    I agree with Norm. C'mon, guys - find a different place to discuss sports, I really don't see the relationship.

  • Justin (unverified)

    I think the Blazers are on the right track here. Now we just got to get rid of Miles and Randolph. It's going to be an interesting next couple of weeks.

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    Norm and Albert,

    When we founded BlueOregon, we wanted it to be "political, but not narrowly so. It'll be a free-ranging social and cultural critique." If we've failed on our content on BlueOregon, it's in having too few posts that are not narrowly political. The Blazers are a major element of life in Oregon and form a piece of the context in which politics reside. Is it a suprise that Portland is the largest city with only a single sports team, or part of the fabric of a state that produced the bottle bill and has unrestricted access to its beaches?

    We put up in the neighborhood of 30 posts a week; mentioning something that's not directly political in a couple three seems unlikely to disturb the focus.

    (And besides, liberals can occasionally have a good time, right?!)

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    Sorry, that should have been "single MAJOR PROFESSIONAL sports team"

  • Sponge (unverified)

    It's easy to criticize, in hind-sight, the pick of Bowie over Jordan, but in '84 the Blazers were already loaded with talent at the guard position. Sure, the duo of Drexler and Jordan (as it turned out) would have been the greatest pairing of all time, but in '84 the Blazers needed a center, and Bowie looked like the best there was that year. There have been plenty of highly-touted draft picks that were busts in the pros. I, for one, am tired of hanging the Bowie albatross around the Blazers' neck every year.

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    Thanks, Jeff. That's exactly what I was going to write.

    The Blazers are a major institutional power in this community's life and its politics.

    We should have more posts around here about arts, music, beer, religion, and yes - sports.

    After all, it's all political.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I love Jack Ramsey, but the Bowie pick was a major mistake. Imagine, if you will, Drexler and Jordan starting with Porter spelling either off the bench. Jeesh! Opposing guards would have been in tears by game's end.

  • Norm! (unverified)

    Jeff Alworth: "...Is it a suprise that Portland is the largest city with only a single sports team, or part of the fabric of a state that produced the bottle bill and has unrestricted access to its beaches?"

    It seems most professional teams need some sort of taxpayer support in the form of a facility. So, it's not surprising that Portlanders and Oregonians have refrained from not supporting a non-essential hobby.

    I seriously question the "institutional power" the Blazers supposedly have in this community. Its poor ticket and luxury suite sales reflect the Blazers' lack of significance.

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    blase-ers ? Anyway, you go write on with those sports posts, Jeff, and I'll put something together about what I'm interested in. Population Growth issue. blog-post coming soon.

    Now, back to the ballgame!

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    Albert, though I planned all day yesterday to get a post up on the draft, this one wasn't mine. Happy to take credit for it, though!

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    It's easy to criticize, in hind-sight, the pick of Bowie over Jordan, but in '84 the Blazers were already loaded with talent at the guard position.

    I'd have been happy with Barkley (or Stockton, Thorpe, or Willis)...

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)

    I think the real purpose of Blue Oregon is to debate about whether to debate about Sports. (And if someone replies to this, then the purpose will be to debate about whether to debate about whether to debate about sports.)

    For my part I think that every post on any blog should come with it a requirement to canvass or make calls for a candidate.

    My other thought is that I think that there were 8 good players in this draft worth having.

    I'm not sure who will be the best among Aldridge, Morrison, Bargnani, Williams, Foye, Roy, Gay, and Tyrus Thomas. (By the way, "Foye Roy Gay" should be the musical notes of some other country: "Doe ray mi fah so Foye Roy Gay") But I predict there will at least be 4 or 5 all-stars among that crew -- and probably one or two greats or near-greats. So the Blazers rolling the dice twice in that group was smart.

    My buddy at the Blazers front office never tells me anything -- seriously, he lets me know less than the newspaper...he won't even confirm public's almost hilarious. At the Bus Gala, I said two words: "LeMarcus Aldridge" -- he didn't even flinch. But his crew did good this year.

    I'm changing my name to LeJefferson.

    Analogues: Roy -- Caron Butler, an inch less strong, two inches better handle. Aldridge -- a middle-class man's Chris Bosh (with few clicks less freakish athletic ability)

    If Martell Webster pans out into a better-off-a-screen Glen Rice, Jarrett Jack develops into Terry Porter, and if they can add another Big piece (winning the Geg Oden lottery next year?), then there is hope in Blazer land 3 years from now. 48 hours ago...I had no such hope.

    Of course, with the contracts of Zach Randolph and Darius Miles, we could be doomed regardless.

    Do you think this is what it used to be like to be a Clippers fan?

  • Israel Bayer (unverified)

    The Blazers had a fantastic draft!

    My sleeper is Utah who picked up Brewer, Arkansas and Dee Brown, Illinois, both who will be playing along side Dee's former team mate Deron Williams who had a fantastic rookie year. Those three guards playing on any other team would turn out to be average, but playing under Jerry Sloan they will all shine!

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    I was happy with the Blazers' draft (which got little play in Florida, who's all agog about the Heat, and the Heat had no draft picks). I like Roy, but count me among the people who would have been happier to see Morrison come to town. Still, lousy picks - great trades. I'll take all of 'em.

    My sleeper is New Jersey. Just like folks in my time zone have to choose between sleep and Pac-10 hoop, you folks did not get off work early enough to see enough of Marcus Williams. Three words: Shorter Magic Johnson. And the other pieces fit, including the outright larceny of Hassan Adams (your future NBA PITA/Defender of the Year) in Round 2. How do two Iowa State players come off the board before him? Please.

    I'm hoping Zach Randolph (the reason the only NBA team I will ever support can't bust 30 wins) can find a lucrative contract somewhere else. Aldridge slides easily into that 4 spot, and you get better defense and a guy who actually pass the rock out of the post if he doesn't have the shot. Roy and Webster with either of the surviving points (finally, someone tall at the one!) is a three-guard that'll match up with anybody.

    Add another big, and we finally recover from the Whitsitt era.

  • Brian (unverified)

    Here is a cultural critique.

    Pro sports are corporate sports. They are passive. They suck money, resources and the life out of a community. What a better place Portland would be if we took their $100 million dollar payroll and created sports and activity leagues for kids and adults alike.

    Just say no to corporate entertainment!

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    Brian: Hear hear! (Not that I don't like me some pro sports,'s tough to argue with what you say.)

    I'd love to hear less about how Portland has "only" one big league team, and more about how much we love the Timbers, Beavers, Lumberjax, Volcanoes, etc etc etc. I love that people support minor league sports here. I can afford to go, and I don't feel like I've wasted my money. I'm perfectly happy watching the big league stuff on TV (most of the time.) Keeping all that hype and corporate greed on the other side of the glass is fine by me.

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    Pete, you're still watching TV? You neandrethal, you!

    I loved Jefferson's For my part I think that every post on any blog should come with it a requirement to canvass or make calls for a candidate.

    First laugh of the day, thanks!

    Now, back to the game!

  • Will B (unverified)

    Pro sports are corporate sports. They are passive. They suck money, resources and the life out of a community. What a better place Portland would be if we took their $100 million dollar payroll and created sports and activity leagues for kids and adults alike.

    Last I checked, the United States isn't a socialist government with nationalized sports teams. Of course pro sports are corporate, there isn't an alternative. Maybe Paul Allen would love to spend $100 million on kids and adults as a philanthropist... but I've seen nothing to suggest so. Maybe we shouldn't be so enamored with pro sports, or other entertainment - but many people are. In fact, it is even worse in England - just try to go around without people asking who you're going for in the UEFA Cup this year. "Will it be Chelsea or Arsenal this year?" "What do you think of the hiring of Shevchenko?" People easily rally around sports, whether in joy or to complain - and it is one of the few places in society where strangers find it easy to establish a common ground. As a life-long Oregonian who has watched the Blazers as long as I can remember, I can personally recall many bonding moments with friends and family revolving around our Blazers squad - in glory and in anguish. In fact, no one loved to hate our Jail Blazers squad of a few years ago more than my friends and me.

    What price should a society pay to tap into a cultural identity and to watch the best athletes in the world compete? Without pro league sports, what do we lose? Are pro-sports truly antithetical to life?

    And, despite how much money professional sports take from the community, how much of that money would still be there for social programs in the absence of professional sports?

    There are costs and benefits to professional sport teams, and I will suggest that the benefits are difficult to impossible to measure by merely looking at spending figures. Much more goes on between a community and its team than filling stadiums, buying hotdogs and jerseys, and watching television. It lets people dream, come together, and inspires people to try to achieve their true potential (whether in their favorite sport or in other aspects of life). Maybe sports stars shouldn't be our heroes; but, if you've noticed lately, politicans aren't that inspiring these days and no-one has gone to the moon in a very long time.

    And by the way, I think the Blazers had a excellent draft.

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    Heh...touché, Albert. Though come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I turned the darn thing on...

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