If you watched the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2000s, you know Rip City brought plenty of joy, a healthy dose of heartbreak and, of course, the greatest national anthem cameo ever. Like the two decades prior, the Larry O’Brien Trophy never found its way to Portland, but wherever you may have been, the 2000s were some great days to be Blazers.
With the 2000s era in mind, the idea here is as follows:
Oregon Sports News set out to draft and build three full rosters using a pool of players at their “Trail Blazers peaks” from the 2000s decade. That means anyone who played a single game for Portland from 1999-00 to 2008-09 is eligible. It also means that eligible players are at their subjective “best days with the Blazers” from that time frame, so skill sets, leadership, basketball IQ—it all applies, along with stamina, durability, and other factors from the period.
To further set the parameters, our general managers are building rosters as if they’re competing for a title in the 2000s. Up to the task of drafting these squads is OSN’s Casey Mabbott, Arran Gimba and Bryant Knox.
Through randomization, Mabbott received the No. 1 overall pick while Gimba nabbed No. 2 and Knox took No. 3. OSN used a snake-style draft and required each GM to select 12 active players, 1 injured reserve and a head coach along the way.
Like players, coaches must have been with the Blazers at some point during the 200s decade to be eligible. For both players and coaches, style matters! But filling a traditional point guard-through-center rotation was never required.
*This is Part 2 of a five-part Oregon Sports News series! Vote for your favorite 2000s team below, and check back next Monday, August 3 to see who makes the cut in our 1990s edition.
Casey Mabbott’s Team
|1 (1)||Arvydas Sabonis|
|2 (6)||Zach Randolph|
|3 (7)||Steve Smith|
|4 (12)||Derek Anderson|
|5 (13)||Steve Blake|
|6 (18)||Travis Outlaw|
|7 (19)||Martell Webster|
|8 (24)||Greg Oden|
|9 (25)||Nicolas Batum|
|10 (30)||Rudy Fernández|
|11 (31)||Channing Frye|
|12 (36)||Nate McMillan (Coach)|
|13 (37)||Shawn Kemp|
|14 (42)||Sergio Rodríguez (IR)|
- Steve Blake
- Steve Smith
- Derek Anderson
- Zach Randolph
- Arvydas Sabonis
Reserves: Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Greg Oden, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, Channing Frye, Shawn Kemp
Injured Reserve: Sergio Rodriguez
Head Coach: Nate McMillan
Draft Strategy Going In: In this era, it’s still a big man’s league, so you need someone who can compete with elite centers. Prime Shaq. Prime Duncan. Prime Dwight Howard. An aging but still very capable David Robinson. Ben Wallace. Andrew Bynum (when healthy). An aging but still capable Vlade Divac. Rik Smits. Dikembe Mutombo. Kendrick Perkins. And these are only the guys who made it to the conference finals and beyond. You get it right? You need a center. You need a really, really good center.
Get the best big man on the board and build around him with good shooters who can play defense. Add depth in case anyone goes down and make sure your star power will match up with arguably some of the greatest dynasties of all time.
How Strategy Changed/Why Your Team Will Dominate: First two players off the board for this team will be game changers (Sabas and Z-Bo). There you go, an automatic 1-2 punch that will complete with any front court.
I won’t lie to you and say everything went perfectly after that; some great players went to teams I didn’t want them to find homes on, but this team puts a lot of strengths out on the court. Blake is a great passer and capable scorer and an underrated leader on the floor. Smith and Anderson are both great shooters who can light up the scoreboard and hold their own against the best guards out there – flip a coin on who plays guard and who plays forward.
Webster, Outlaw, Batum, and Rudy round out the rotation and should put up a fight against the deepest benches. Oden and Frye are capable backups we hope to not have to use too much but we know Greg can battle when healthy and Channing is an underrated shooter off the bench. Sergio has his moments and we’re really glad to have him backing up Steve. This team can do it all and we’re really excited to have them here.
Coach Nate will thrive with this old-school lineup that will do well in a half court system that focuses on making the extra pass and getting the ball to the open shooter. Are other teams packing more star power and talent? Sure. But that won’t bother this team at all when they have to check an extra bag for all the trophies on the last flight home.
Arran Gimba’s Team
|1 (2)||Brandon Roy|
|2 (5)||Scottie Pippen|
|3 (8)||Damon Stoudamire|
|4 (11)||Bonzi Wells|
|5 (14)||Shareef Abdur-Rahim|
|6 (17)||Theo Ratliff|
|7 (20)||Ruben Patterson|
|8 (23)||Juan Dixon|
|9 (26)||James Jones|
|10 (29)||Chris Dudley|
|11 (32)||Jamaal Magloire|
|12 (35)||Jerryd Bayless|
|13 (38)||Mike Dunleavy (Coach)|
|14 (41)||Ime Udoka (IR)|
- Damon Stoudamire
- Brandon Roy
- Scottie Pippen
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim
- Theo Ratliff
Reserves: Bonzi Wells, Ruben Patterson, Juan Dixon, James Jones, Chris Dudley, Jamaal Magloire, Jerryd Bayless
Injured Reserve: Ime Udoka
Head Coach: Mike Dunleavy
Draft Strategy Going In: I wanted to develop some size up front with Rasheed Wallace and either LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph. The 2000s was a fantastic decade when it came to size for the franchise. As Liam Neeson said in the “If It’s On TNT, I’m Watching” movie, “Taken”, “What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.” Each of these big men are unique. LaMarcus and Rasheed both had jump shots that no man could stop. Arvydas Sabonis could pass the ball like no other. Joel Pryzbilla was an excellent shot blocker and rebounder. Greg Oden was the best cheerleader we … ok, that was a cheap shot. But you get the idea.
How Strategy Changed/Why Your Team Will Dominate:
Well … I never thought in a million years that Casey would go with Sabonis as his top pick. I had no choice but to go with The Natural, Brandon Roy. Quick, name the top shooting guards the Blazers had in this decade. Roy, then … ummm … Bonzi Wells … Derek Anderson … Steve Smith? I felt confident I could get quality big men later in the draft. I didn’t want to miss out on ensuring a complete roster with Roy. It’s like in Fantasy Football, when you’re the one that gets the top tight end in the draft. You can then laugh when the other managers have to draft Rob Gronkowski (of the Tampa Bay Bucs), Greg Olsen, and Jordan “Seriously, you’re hurt again?!” Reed.
So then I thought, “Cool, I’ll just go grab Rasheed or LaMarcus. I’m good.” Nope. Bryant had to take BOTH of them with his first two picks. Greedy SOB. It was at this point when I decided to go small ball with this roster. Scottie Pippen, Bonzi Wells, Damon Stoudamire, Shareef Abdul-Rahim (laugh all you want, but go look at his numbers as a Trail Blazer), Ruben Patterson. Yes, I grabbed some big men like Theo Ratliff and Jamaal Magloire but let’s be honest, it’s all about running and gunning.
Bryant Knox’s Team
|1 (3)||LaMarcus Aldridge|
|2 (4)||Rasheed Wallace|
|3 (9)||Joel Przybilla|
|4 (10)||Dale Davis|
|5 (15)||Nick Van Exel|
|6 (16)||Jarrett Jack|
|7 (21)||Darius Miles|
|8 (22)||Stacey Augmon|
|9 (27)||Detlef Schrempf|
|10 (28)||Brian Grant|
|11 (33)||Sebastian Telfair|
|12 (34)||Wesley Person|
|13 (39)||Jermaine O’Neal (IR)|
|14 (40)||Maurice Cheeks (Coach)|
- Jarrett Jack
- Stacey Augmon
- Darius Miles
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Rasheed Wallace
Reserves: Joel Przybilla, Dale Davis, Nick Van Exel, Detlef Schrempf, Brian Grant, Sebastian Telfair, Wesley Person
Injured Reserve: Jermaine O’Neal
Head Coach: Maurice Cheeks
Draft Strategy Going In: Phase 1: Collect Bigs. Phase 2: ? Phase 3: Championship
Unless Brandon Roy somehow slipped to third, the plan was to draft the two best bigs available, and then keep getting bigger. We’d find shooters eventually, but if our first two players could be both big and our top two scoring options, we were going to be in good shape.
How Strategy Changed/Why Your Team Will Dominate: Wouldn’t you know it, sometimes plans going according to…plan. LaMarcus and Rasheed can handle the scoring load, and they’re better defenders than they often get credit for. More importantly, the lack of a star guard won’t be a problem because defenses would be foolish to double Sheed with LMA on either the opposing block or up at the elbow, and vice versa.
Had Mighty Mouse slipped to 9th overall, one of Joel Przybilla or Dale Davis would have had to wait. But Damon Stoudemire did go 8th, leaving the two enforcers to be my next two picks. (Note that while Sheed only played 7 percent of his minutes with the Blazers at SF, we’ll get creative and hit opponents with whatever the opposite of a 2017 Death Lineup would be for stretches).
Because we do need to bring the ball up the court and at least threaten to score from the wings, Jarrett Jack and Miles round out the starting 5 alongside an aging but still defensive-minded Stacey Augmon.
This team has additional shooting in Detlef, Bassy and Wes Persons, and yes, additional size with Brian Grant and Jermaine O’Neal sadly but fittingly on IR.