#2 Jerome Kersey vs. #7 Isaiah Rider
No. 25 Jerome Kersey | Small Forward | 6-7 | 225 lbs
Career Stats As A Trail Blazer:
25.8 mpg, 12.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.8 bpg, .476 FG%, .198 3PT%, .699 FT%
Taken with the 46th overall pick in the 1984 draft, the Trail Blazers found a diamond in the rough out of tiny Longwood College in Virginia in the form of Jerome Kersey. His all-out, breakneck style of play not only won over the hearts of BlazerManiacs but also helped carve his niche early on in his time with Portland. The only speed Jerome that knew was full. And he used that mentality as an advantage to wear out the opposition by constantly challenging every play, diving on the floor for loose balls, and running the break. On a team that loved to play in the open court and push the tempo, there was no better finisher on the fly than “Mercy Mercy” Jerome Kersey. His thunderous jams rocked the Coliseum to a fever pitch.
If Drexler was the superstar, Porter the captain and Buck the glue, then Kersey was the jack-of-all-trades, because there isn’t any category Jerome hasn’t left his mark on. He is one of only two Trail Blazers to score over 10,000 points, grab more than 5,000 rebounds and hand out at least 1,000 assists. All-Time, Kersey ranks second in games played (831), rebounds (5,078), third in minutes played (21,400), steals (1,059), fourth in points (10,067), blocks (621), field goals made (3,981), and eighth in assists (1,762).
"Mercy Mercy Jerome Kersey. A true team player. Gave his body...full out. Could do it all."
Photo Gallery: Jerome Kersey Through The Years
No. 34 Isaiah Rider | Shooting Guard |6-5 | 215 lbs
Career Stats As A Trail Blazer:
34.2 mpg, 16.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, .434 FG%, .350 3PT%, .805 FT%
Isaiah “JR” Rider’s off the court troubles overshadowed his talents on the hardwood , which is a shame, because he could flat out play. After being acquired from the Timberwolves in the summer of ‘96, it was evident early on that Rider was a keeper. There wasn’t any way to stop Rider from getting buckets. Whether he was slashing hard to the cup, putting up jumpers from all distances or using his bulk to back his man down, the stocky, shooting guard was as versatile as they came. During his three seasons in Portland (96-99), Rider averaged 16.1, 19.7 and 13.9 ppg respectively – the latter two years leading the team in that department. Isaiah, not shy about showing his emotions on the hardwood, laid it all on the line during his tenure in Rip City and was, in essence, the ringleader of that 1999 Trail Blazer team.
On a squad so loaded with talent they were considered “12 Deep”, it was Rider whose star shone brightest during that ’99 playoff run, boosting his team-leading average to 16.5 ppg (up from 13.9). Setting the tone, Rider torched the Suns for a game-high 25 in Game One of the opening round. In the following round against rival Utah, JR again posted top score, going off for a career playoff-high 27 as Portland stole home-court away in Game Two. Finally, in the series clincher over Utah, Rider rose to the occasion, notching a game-high 24 points including 14 makes from the charity stripe – the third highest all-time for free-throw marksmanship in franchise playoff history.
"Controversial to say the least, but he could play."
Photo Gallery: Isaiah Rider Through The Years
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Bracket: The Greatest Trail Blazer Of All-Time