It’s the NBA award season and today inside the Rose Garden, Portland Trail Blazers coaches, personnel and players will gather for a press conference to make a “major announcement.”
The “major” event will likely feature first-year favorite Damian Lillard accepting the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. Lillard, who swept all five monthly honors for Western Conference rookies, will join Geoff Petrie (1971), Sidney Wicks (1972) and Brandon Roy (2007) as Blazers who have been selected as the top rookies in their seasons.
The next natural step for the Blazers and Lillard is to retire his number.
And if you’re wondering if Talking Points has inadvertently left Walton off the Rookie of the Year list — we haven’t.
During Walton’s 1974-1975 rookie season, Keith Wilkes of Golden State won the honor. Walton, the Blazer great, did not even make the All-Rookie team that year.
In Jason Collins’ piece with Sports Illustrated, in which he became the first active American male athlete in a major sport to come out as gay, he wrote about “Three Degrees of Jason Collins.”
“If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates,” Collins wrote. “Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.”
Although it’s hard to play “Three Degrees of Jason Collins” with the current Blazers as most have four years or less experience in the league. Still, Collins, the 12-year journeymen who has played on six different teams, has been a teammate with several former Blazers.
In 2008-2009, Collins played with the Timberwolves along with Craig Smith and Sebastian Telfair. Also as Collins was just getting his career started, his path intersected with Clifford Robinson on the end of his journey during the 2004-2005 season with the New Jersey Nets.