Thursday, June 25, 2009

Draft Day Blazers

It's NBA Draft Day and it's also been awhile since I've done a basketball post. I'm sure everyone's missed those posts. All the cards featured here came from the legendary dayf of Cardboard Junkie fame. I can't remember when exactly I received the package, but I made sure to set aside the Blazers cards so I could milk multiple posts out of it.

Lamarcus Aldridge was the 2nd overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft. He ended up getting swapped for the #4 pick (Tyrus Thomas) in what kicked off perhaps the most successful and wild draft day in league history (for one team.) Note that I said league history, not franchise history. The Blazers basically stole the two best players in the entire draft and have yet to look back. Brandon Roy was actually picked later at #6.

Upper Deck made player stickers? Nice. I have no idea what this is from. Kenny Anderson was the 2nd pick overall (Nets) of the 1991 draft. Dikembe Mutombo may end up being a Hall of Famer for his defensive prowess, but you can't really argue with picking Anderson when you look at some of the alternatives available at that point.

Darius Miles was the first player I was ever aware of who got regularly featured by ESPN as a mere high school player. He basically got the Lebron James treatment long before James was around. He was taken 3rd by the Clippers in the abysmal 2000 draft. When Portland traded for him, his career began to blow up (in a good way), but then he blew up (in a bad way) at his coach as the team was struggling listlessly. Eventually, his knee blueblew up (literally) and as the Blazers remade themselves as a wholesome group of homegrown players, Miles was left on the outside looking in and was the subject of much contract-related controversy that I don't feel like getting into now.

This Topps Embossed card is obviously a rookie card as Aaron McKie is pictured in a fairly generic looking Blazers t-shirt. One of my few "in person" Blazers experiences involved unintentionally tailgaiting McKie's convertible heading north on I-205 in the mid-'90s. His license plate? MCKIE23. The Blazers took him 17th in 1994 over such luminaries as B.J. Tyler and Dickey Simpkins.

Stadium Club cards aren't quite as appealing in basketball to me as I don't think there's as much of a lack of quality NBA photos as there are in baseball. Full bleed action shots are always nice, but they don't stand out as much here, I guess. Still, this is a nice looking card. Robinson was a 2nd round pick in 1989 and logged more than 42,000 minutes in the NBA in his career, significantly more than anyone else in the entire draft.

This is just gaudy. I'm glad that later Ultra Gold Medallion cards were more subtle. Strickland was the 19th overall pick in 1988 and had two stints as a Blazer.

Ime Udoka was undrafted out of Portland State University. He was the starting SF for a rebuilding Blazers team a few years ago and may be on his way out of San Antonio after they recently acquired Richard Jefferson. He's a nice perimeter defender, something that's been sorely lacking since he left the Blazers, so I wouldn't mind seeing him return in a reserve role if there's actually space for him somehow.

This is actually a mini Bazooka rookie card, but for some reason blogger made it appear larger than the other cards. The picture is pretty fitting for Telfair, who already had his own book and movie in the works by the time the Blazers drafted him out of high school. He may yet be a serviceable point guard in the league as long as he can stay relatively healthy, but I'm glad the Blazers didn't sit on him for long. Other players that could have been had at #13 in 2004: Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza... er, wait, cancel that last one. Yikes.

Finally, here's Martell Webster from the amazing looking 2008-09 Topps Murad set. I love these cards. They're extremely different from anything else I've seen. I watched a good portion of the 2005 NBA Draft on NBATV yesterday afternoon and got to see Webster get picked at #6. Portland actually traded down to get Webster as they had the #3 pick, which turned out to be Deron Williams. In hindsight, it's difficult for me or for anyone to defend this pick, as much as I dislike Deron Williams. He plays for the Jazz, so I can't be expected to be unbiased here. Going into this draft, the Blazers still thought they had a future ace point guard in Telfair for some reason, so I suppose it made sense at the time. I've seen Marty light it up like crazy at times, though, and coming off of missing all of last season I really wish him the best and hope that he can be a big contributor.

Chris Paul was taken at #4, though.

1 comment:

packaddict said...

I like your Blazers posts! Looking forward to the next season!