Three years ago, the Portland Trail Blazers were the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Blazers were mostly young, very talented and playing with the enthusiasm of a college team. They were considered an up-and-coming club in the West, gaining a reputation as The Team That Will Eventually Overtake The Lakers.
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Brandon Roy was their star shooting guard, LaMarcus Aldridge the power forward with unlimited potential, Greg Oden the No. 1 overall draft pick who drew comparisons to Bill Russell.
The Blazers also had some nice parts around those players, filling the roster with the likes of center Joel Przybilla, guard Rudy Fernandez and small forward Nicolas Batum. And at the time, everyone was calling guard Martell Webster the best pure shooter since Ray Allen.
On top of all that, coach Nate McMillan was regarded as the mastermind who could someday lead the Blazers to greatness.
It was a great story, and everyone was on board. We didn