One of the most important positions in basketball, the shooting guard is often the primary scorer. They are depended on to be sharpshooters from the arc, to get to the basket with ease, and use their quickness to steal the ball from opponents. The Blazers have had some of the best shooters, some of the flashiest and quickest, some of the most elite players to play the game.
The Blazers have had sixty shooting guards in their franchise history. Some are hall of famers. Several are All Stars. A select few are Champions. Here are the top 10 (well 10.5) best shooting guards in Portland Trail Blazers franchise history.
10. 5 Jim Barnett (1970-71)
18.5 PPG 4.8 RPG 4.1 APG
.436 FG% .811 FT%
17 PER .495 TS% 4.7 WS
Barnett only played 1 season for Portland, it’s first in 1970. He graduated from the University of Oregon, an All American. He played a year with Boston and three with San Diego before he made his way to Portland after being traded for Larry Siegfried following the expansion draft.
Barnett was nicknamed “Crazy Horse” for his
unpredictable antics. He was an animated and entertaining character on and off the court. He scored Portland’s first points. He was the first player to score 30 and 40 points in a game for the Blazers.
Barnett had the best season of his 12 year NBA career in Portland. He averaged 18.5 points per game coming off the bench behind Geoff Petrie.
He is partly to thank for the term Rip City, as announcer Bill Schonely yelled out the phrase following a long jumper he took against the Lakers that landed in an immortal moment. For that alone he belongs on the list.
10. Larry Steele (1971 – 1980)
8.2 PPG 2.2 APG. .483 FG% .796 FT%
12.7 PER .531 TS% 28.2 WS
One of the longest tenured shooting guards for the Blazers, Larry Steele was a staple during the seventies. He spent his entire NBA career with Portland and retired after he left the team. Though his career point per game average isn’t what you would expect from somebody of Steele’s caliber, he often scored in double digits, his career best, a 30 point effort against the Lakers.
Ironically, Steele, was the first steals champion, racking up the most steals in the NBA in 1974, the first year they were recorded. He also is fifth on the all time Blazers steal list and third in steals per game. He was part of the 1977 Blazers Championship team. His #15 Jersey was retired in 1981.
9. Billy Ray Bates (1989-1982)
12.3 PPG 1.8 RPG 2 APG
.482 FG% .298 3PT% .811 FT% .491 EFG%
19 PER .535 TS% 6.9 WS
Bates was drafted and cut by the Houston Rockets before joining a CBA (Continental Basketball Association) team in Maine, where he was named rookie of the year and won the Slam Dunk contest. He was then signed by the Trail Blazers.
He had one of the highest known vertical leaps at 44.5 inches. He scored 26 points his first game as a Blazer in 20 minutes of play. He scored 40 points in 32 minutes and 35 points in 25 minutes in a phenomenal points per minute ratio.
Bates got to the playoffs with the Blazers both seasons he played for them. At 27.7 ppg, he has the highest point average in the playoffs of a non starter in NBA history. He has the 10th highest efficiency rating all time for Portland, behind only two other shooting guards, Clyde Drexler and Brandon Roy. He is #1 all time in usage percentage.
He was nicknamed “Dunk” for the electrifying aerial display he put on while throwing it down. He wasn’t a great shooter outside of the paint, and wasn’t your prototypical shooting guard. But, he was a fan favorite, he got the job done, and he was fun as hell to watch doing it.
8. Steve Smith (1999- 2001)
14.3 PPG 3.6 RPG 2.6 APG
.461 FG% .369 3PT% .870FT% .513 EFG%
16.6 PER .585 TS% 18.6 WS
Traded to Portland after the Blazers lost in the western conference finals to the San Antonio Spurs. A loaded Blazer team was retooled with Isaiah Rider headed to the Hawks in return for Smith. He became a sharp shooter for Portland, shooting nearly 40% from the arc during his time as a Blazer. He won a gold olympic medal with Team USA after his first season in Rip City.
Smith scored 26 points in game six of the 2000 playoffs to help the Blazers force a game 7 in the Western Conference finals vs the Lakers. He was the second leading scorer his first season as a Blazer with 14 ppg. He is 3rd all time in free throw percentage.
7. Wesley Matthews (2010-2015)
15.4 PPG 3.3 RPG 2.2 APG
.438 FG% .394 3PT% .835 FT% .534 EFG%
15.1 PER .575 TS% 31.1 WS
A 3 point assassin and a defensive stopper, Wesley Matthews was a special player for Portland. He brought heart and fight to the Blazers. After outbidding Utah for his services, Matthews came to Portland, initially coming off the bench behind Brandon Roy, and later shared time with CJ McCollum and Will Barton.
He gained the starting spot after Roy suffered from knee injuries. He played at small forward as well as shooting guard. Matthew is number 2 all time in 3 point makes and attempts behind Damian Lillard and 10th all time in percentage. His time as a Blazer came to end, along with an era, with one step. He tore his achilles tendon in a season ending injury in the last year of his contract. Unsure of how he would play after returning, the Blazers opted not to resign him.
6. Isaiah Rider (1996-1999)
16.9 PPG 4.3 RPG 2.7 APG
.435 FG% .350 3PT% .806 FT% .482 EFG%
14.4 PER .523 TS% 13.2 WS
A controversial and problematic enigma, Rider was a star level player without the discipline and maturity to maintain himself or to live up to the immense potential he possessed. He was often in trouble with police and unaccountable as a teammate, often late for practices and team buses, etc. on purpose.
His skill alone puts him here on the list. He averaged 16.9 ppg, but could have averaged in the high 20’s if he pleased. He scored a near career high 40 points in a win over Boston during his first season with the Blazers. He was never, perhaps because of his bad boy image, named to the All Star team, though he by skill at least, deserved it. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t put his antics aside, to become something greater in Portland.
5. Jim Paxson (1979-1988)
16 PPG 3.2 APG 2.3 RPG
.503 FG% .230 3PT% .508 EFG% .801 FT%
16.9 PER .552 TS% 50 WS
Paxon, the 6’6 shooting guard out of Dayton was drafted by the Blazers with the 12th pick in the 1979 draft. He played 9 seasons, all but two of the eleven of his NBA career in Portland. He was named an All Star twice, in 1983 and again in 1984. When he left Portland, he was the All time lead scorer, but has since slipped to 7, though only one shooting guard, Clyde Drexler (number 1) sits in front of him.
Jim has amassed several spots on the Blazers all time list. He is 4th in field goals, 3rd in 2pt field goals, 6th in games played, 4th in steals, 7th in points, 9th in free throws, 9th in minutes, 8th in all time win shares, and 8th in all time offensive win shares, again, all only behind one shooting guard, Clyde Drexler.
4.CJ McCollum (2014-Present)
17.9 PPG 3.1 RPG 2.9 APG
.456 FG% .402 3PT% .840 FT% .522EFG%
17.2 PER .553 TS% 27.9 WS
McCollum is a speedy high scoring guard who can shoot off the catch or the dribble from the anywhere, and though he tends to be streaky is a 40% 3pt shooter, one of the best in Portland’s franchise history. He can also attack the basket at will, especially on transition but often finds himself in a crowded paint and becomes prone to turnovers.
He is a protostar next to Lillards burning sun. He has yet to make the All star team, but is Portland’s second highest scorer and has yet to reach his full potential. Though his season average is around 18 ppg, he often scores in the twenties and higher. He is one of four Portland shooting guards to join the 50 point club, along with Geoff Petrie, Clyde Drexler, and Brandon Roy. He did so against the Bulls in the 2017-18 season. He has scored 40+ two other times, not to mention multiple 30 point games.
McCollum in his sixth year is 3rd in Blazers all time 3pt field goals, 4th in 3pt field goal attempts, 6th in 3pt percentage, and 4th in usage percentage.
3.Geoff Petrie (1971- 1976)
21.8 PPG 2.8 RPG 4.6 APG
.455 FG% .805 FT%
15.8 PER .502 TS% 26.1 WS
Geoff Petrie was Portland’s first starting shooting guard and first all star. He is the only shooting guard in Blazers franchise history to score 2,000 points his rookie season (and only two other guards Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson have done it). He spent his whole NBA career with the Trail Blazers.
He is another of four of Portland’s shooting guards to join the 50 point club, the first to do so. He scored 51 against Houston twice. He also scored 40+ points 12 times in his years in Portland. His 21.8 points per game is the highest Blazer career average of any of Portland’s shooting guards. His jersey #45 was retired by Portland in 1981. Though he and teammate Sidney Wicks were a near perfect duo, Petrie never made it to the playoffs and never saw the promised land.
2.Brandon Roy (2006-2011)
19 PPG 4.3 RPG 4.7 APG
.460 FG% .352 3PT% .801 FT% .493 EFG%
20.1 PER .549 TS% 37.5 WS
Roy was acquired on draft night 2006(in which the Blazers also traded for LaMarcus Aldridge) in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Randy Foye (I bet Minnesota regrets that) Nicknamed “B-Roy” “The Roy Wonder” and “The Natural” among others, for his elite level of play that he made seem so easy and intuitive, Brandon Roy was a star from the get go.
He scored 20 points in his debut against Seattle. He was selected as rookie of the year, despite only playing 57 games. Only two other Trail Blazers had won the award before him: Geoff Petrie and Sidney Wicks.
Roy, like Lillard was known for his accolades in the clutch. He hit many game winners at the buzzer, including a shot with eight tenths of second left on the clock against the Rockets on November 6th, 2008. That same season he joined the fifty point club, scoring 52 points against the Phoenix Suns. He helped the Blazers end a five year drought, and saw 3 playoffs with them.
Brandon Roy was a highly talented player. He was the newest hope of the Blazers to win it all again. With LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, and Co it seemed inevitable. But, his knees couldn’t take the beating. One injury to them after another and several surgeries to try and save them, spelled the end of his career. But, fans are forever thankful for all he gave.
1.Clyde Drexler (1983-95)
20.8 PPG 6.2 RPG 5.7 APG 2 SPG
.478 FG% .373 3PT% .789 FT% .494 EFG%
21.3 PER .545 TS% 108.7 WS
Clyde “The Glide” Drexler is unanimously Portland’s best shooting guard of all time. He is an 8 time all star with Portland. He is an olympic gold medalist with the Dream Team and is one of six Blazers to be named to the Naismith Hall of Fame. He led the Blazers in 1989-90 and 1991-92 to the NBA finals, first against the Pistons, then against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. He also led the Blazers to their most winning season (1990-1991) 63-19.
Drexler was drafted by the Blazers in 1983 with the 14th pick. He leads Portland in 20 categories on the all time list, including points, steals, free throws, games and minutes played, and win shares. He had triple doubles in 21 games. He joined the 50 point club in a 147-142 win over the Kings in ‘89. He had 12 40+ games. In his third season he had a near quadruple double (a feat only 4 players have accomplished: Nate Thurmond, Alvin Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson) with 26 points, 11 assists, 10 steals, and 9 rebounds.
Clyde Drexler was a high flying dunker. He could shoot the 3. He could rebound, steal, assist…he could do it all. He is often compared to Michael Jordan and came in 2nd to him in MVP voting in 1992. His career and achievements place him not only with the best Blazers, but with the NBA elite. His #22 Jersey was retired in 2001 and sits high in rafters of the Moda Center for all to see.
Dražen Petrović (1989-1991)
7 PPG 1.1 RPG 1.1 APG
.480 FG% .438 3PT% .824 FT% .515 EFG%
15.5 PER .573 TS% 3.1 WS
Petrović was one of the best shooting guards to play the game. His list of achievements in Euro and FIBA leagues runs a mile long. He was a highly energetic and aggressive player who attacked at will and was apt at creating his own shot. He medaled three times in the Olympics and beat out Arvydas Sabonis for the 1986 World Championship MVP. He is one of the few Blazers to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball hall of fame.
It can be argued he belongs in the top 10. He is definitely one of the best shooting guards to have played for Portland. Had the Blazers used him right, he might have been placed near the top of the list. The Trail Blazers took away his strengths and had him play off the bench in limited minutes, mainly throwing up threes from the arc. Not that he was a bad three point shooter, he shot 43% for his career, 4th in NBA history behind Steve Kerr, Hubert Davis, and Seth Curry. He did score a game high 24 points off the bench in a win over the Kings. I can only imagine if they had moved Drexler to Small forward and started him.
He showed sparks of his greatness in New Jersey, and would no doubt have become an All Star, but Petrovic, always moving on the basketball court with boundless energy, died in a car crash on the autobahn, ironically still, sleeping in the passenger seat, at only 28.
Danny Ainge (1990-1992)
10.4 PPG 2.2 RPG 3 APG
.458 FG% .374 3PT% .825 FT% .522 EFG%
16.2 PER .555 TS% 11.4 WS
Ainge came to Portland a two time NBA Champion and All Star. A volatile and temperamental player, he was known for getting under other players skins, and often into fights. He certainly was not one to back away. He was a high powered offensive player, a pure shooter, especially from deep.
A native of Oregon, Ainge was welcomed by fans with open arms. His game high in Portland was 27 points in his second and final season with the Blazers against the Lakers. He helped lead the Blazers to the NBA finals in the 1991-92 season, but couldn’t help them get passed Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He considered staying after his second season, but ultimately signed with Phoenix.
Derek Anderson (2001-2005)
12 PPG 3.1 RPG 3.7 APG
.402 FG% .349 3PT% .843 FT% .471 EFG%
15.2 PER .529 TS% 18.4 WS
Anderson was Portland’s starting shooting guard in the wake of the late nineties/early naughts run at the championship. Acquired in a trade for Steve Smith along with Steve Kerr, Anderson was an veteran guard1. He was an adept shooter from the arc and got his share at the basket. He was also a proficient ball handler. He was however plagued by injuries for most of his time in Portland, and missed more games then he played. His most impressive game for the Blazers came in his second season, when he put together a 31 point, 14 rebound game in a win over Golden State.
Will Barton (2012-2015)
3.8 PPG 1.8 RPG 0.8 APG
.391 FG% .198 3PT% .412 EFG% .768 FT%
10 PER .448 TS% 0.1 WS
Barton is a case of the Blazers giving up on a player too soon. Stuck behind Matthews and McCollum the athletic guard was rarely used, and was eventually traded to Denver, where his numbers have jumped and he has become a serviceable starter. He had his best game as a Blazer during his last season in Portland, scoring 23 points to go with 10 rebounds in a win over the Clippers.
Ron Brewer (1979-1981)
13.4 PPG 2.3 APG
.467 FG% .200 3PT% .825 FT% .469 EFG%
13.2 PER .510 TS% 9.8 WS
Brewer, a high school star and All American was
drafted by Portland with the 7th pick in the 1978 draft, Brewer spent the first three seasons of a long career in Portland. His 2nd season with the Blazers was his best, in which he averaged 15.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He scored a game high 33 points against the Rockets that year, not mention two 30 point games his rookie season. He made the NBA All Rookie 1st Team in 1979.
Herm Gilliam (1976-1977)
9.3 PPG 2.1 APG
.438 FG% .767 FT%
12.7 PER .467 TS% 2.5 WS
Gilliam was a key cog of the Blazers 1977 Championship team, in what was the last season of his career. What a way to go out. He was integral part of Portland’s sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. He finished with 24 points, and propelled Portland to a 105-101 victory in the series winning game 4.
Rudy Fernández (2008 – 2011)
9.1 PPG 2.5 RPG 2.2 APG
.394 FG% .364 3PT% .508 EFG% .855 FT%
14.1 PER .552 TS% 12.9 WS
If wouldn’t be right not throw out some respect to the Spanish guard who quickly became a fan favorite with his three goggles and his high speed play. Fernández, a highly accomplished Eurostar, with several Olympic gold medals, had a NBA career high 26 points as a Blazer, in a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. A long career in the NBA seemed imminent for him, but he was never the same after being leveled from behind by Trevor Ariza on a dunk attempt.
Jim Jackson (1998-1999)
Gerald Henderson (2015-16)
Juan Dixon (2006- 2007)
Bob Verga (1973-1974)
Steve Jones (1975-1976)
Charlie Yelverton (1961-1972)
Johnny Davis (1976-78)
Charlie Davis (1972-1974)
Arron Afflalo (2014- 2015)
Allen Crabbe (2013 – 2017)