Top Portland Trail Blazers Records and Accomplishments
Perhaps it’s because they’re a little isolated in the Pacific Northwest, but the Portland Trail Blazers are often overlooked as one of the proudest and most accomplished franchises in NBA history. Of course, anybody who’s ever bought Portland Trail Blazers tickets and seen the team play knows that’s not the case. After all, they won an NBA championship in their seventh season as a franchise and have been one of the top teams in the Western Conference ever since. Along the way, the Trail Blazers have accomplished many feats that would make other NBA teams jealous. Let’s take a look back at the most notable Portland Trail Blazers’ records and accomplishments in franchise history.
Quick Climb Up the Mountain
The greatest accomplishment in Trail Blazers’ history took place just seven seasons into franchise history when Portland won the 1977 NBA championship. Heading into that season, the first under head coach Jack Ramsay, the Trail Blazers had never even been to the playoffs. In fact, they didn’t even win their division that season, finishing four games behind the Lakers in the Pacific Division. However, Portland knocked off the Bulls, Nuggets, and Lakers in the Western Conference Playoffs to reach the NBA Finals. The fact that Portland swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals made the run even more impressive. In the finals, the Trail Blazers dropped the first two games of the series to the 76ers. However, they responded with four straight wins to be crowned 1977 NBA championships, which to date, is the only title in franchise history.
After winning the NBA title in 1977, the Trail Blazers proved that they were no one-hit-wonder. Portland made the playoffs in each of the next four seasons, including their first-ever division title in 1978, before missing out on the 1982 playoffs. However, the Trail Blazers returned to the playoffs in 1983. That year kicked off a run of 21-straight playoff appearances, the second-longest streak in NBA history. Despite not winning another NBA championship during those 21 seasons, the Trail Blazers won three division crowns and reached the NBA Finals twice. More importantly, they became a model of consistency for the rest of the teams in the NBA to strive to replicate.
Clyde the Glide
In the Portland record books, the name Clyde Drexler can be seen early and often. After spending 11 and a half seasons with the Trail Blazers, he’s the holder of a majority of franchise records. Most notably, he’s the all-time leader in games played in a Trail Blazers uniform with 867, as well as minutes played with 29,496. Naturally, he’s also Portland’s all-time leading scorer, racking up 18,040 points over his 11-plus seasons with the Trail Blazers. Just for good measure, Drexler is also the team’s record-holder in steals, amassing 1,795 during his career.
When Drexler was traded during the 1994-95 season, he held nearly all of the Trail Blazers’ team records. Naturally, a few of those records have since fallen. During his nine seasons with the Trail Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge barely clipped Drexler for the most rebounds in franchise history, finishing his days in Portland with 5,434 boards compared to Drexler’s 5,339 rebounds. Another one of the few franchise records that Drexler doesn’t hold is for steals. That record belongs to Terry Porter, who dished out 5,319 assists during his days in Portland. Of course, Drexler and Porter were teammates on the Trail Blazers for close to a decade with many of Porter’s assists going to Drexler.
Of course, no record is written in stone, not even Drexler’s Portland records. The player to watch in the years to come is Damian Lillard, who has been with the Trail Blazers since 2012. Lillard has already set the all-time team record for 3-pointers made, draining well over 1,200 shots from beyond the arc, surpassing the previous record by over 400 made baskets. The point guard has also worked his way up to third on the all-time assist list, surpassing Portland legend Damon Stoudamire. At his current pace, Lillard could hold that team record within five seasons. Most notably, Lillard is already second in points scored in Trail Blazers history, amassing over 13,000 points. Granted, he’s more than 4,000 points shy of Drexler’s record at the moment. However, Lillard is on pace to pass Drexler as Portland’s all-time leading scorer in less than three years.
In addition to the 1977 NBA championship, the Trail Blazers can hang their hat on the individual awards Portland players have won over the years. Bill Walton is the most notable award winner in franchise history. He was NBA Finals MVP in 1977 when the Trail Blazers won the championship. He followed it up with league MVP honors in 1978. The Trail Blazers have also had four Rookie of the Year winners in franchise history. Notably, Geoff Petrie shared the award with Dave Cowens during the 1970-71 season, which was Portland’s first season in the NBA. More recently, Lillard won Rookie of the Year honors during his rookie season in 2012-13, which foreshadowed his incredible tenure with the organization.