Jeff Sagarin: Blazers early schedule among NBAs toughest

According to Jeff Sagarin of USA TODAY, the Blazers have played the fourth toughest schedule in the NBA thus far. Top 5 toughest schedules are 1) 3-11 New Jersey 2) 6-7 Houston 3) 4-10 Sacramento 4) 8-5 Portland 5) 6-6 Memphis So, Portland is the only team in the NBA to play a top 5 schedule and come out of with a winning record. Miami at 8-4 is the only other top 10 toughest schedule team to have a winning record, their SOS is #6.

He lists Portland as the 8th best team overall, and 4th best overall in the Western Conference. The W.C. teams ahead of them are Oklahoma City, LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.

When you take out his margin of victory equation, Portland is 7th, bumping them ahead of the Spurs (and 76ers who are really killing a lot of teams).

The predictor formula predicts that the Blazers will finish the season as the 7th best team after looking at future games.

Portland is 4-3 against top 10 teams. No other top ten team has played seven top ten teams. Portland is 5-4 vs. his top 16 teams. The Lakers have played the most top 16 teams, with 10. The 76ers for instance have only played 3 top 16 teams, and have played the weakest schedule thus far. This leaves the Blazers with a 1-3 record vs. non top 16 teams, that loss was at Phoenix, who comes in at 19th.

The good news is the schedule is about to balance out! The Blazers play Atlanta (#5) on Wednesday, but after that the cupcakes (or should we call them Felton's?) start popping up in bunches. Here is the schedule with the current Sagarin rating for that team until Feb. 2nd:







@ #14 UTAH



That means the average ranking over those 9 games is 22.55. Because I have nothing better to do tonight following my surgery, I looked up our schedule so far and the median team ranking that Portland has played so far (+ counting Atlanta) is: 11.57. So, we will see nearly a stretch were we play twice as easy of a schedule. The Blazers will either have 8 or 9 wins coming into this stretch, how many will they have after those above mentioned games on Feb. 2nd? I think they will have 15 wins and 8 losses at that point.

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