FanShot

Pelton: Portland's Place In West Not Yet Clear

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Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus analyzes the highs and lows of the Portland Trail Blazers' first month and concludes that it's still too early to predict where the team fits into the wide open Western Conference. ----------------------------------- Right now, the assessment of Portland should be little different than it was when the team was 7-2, or 9-7. The Blazers haven't distinguished themselves from the pack of contenders in the Western Conference. The only team clearly better than Portland is Oklahoma City, which was the preseason favorite in the West and leads the conference currently. It's equally difficult to find teams in the West's top 10 that the Blazers are clearly better than. Though their +3.9 schedule-adjusted differential ranks third in the conference, trailing the Denver Nuggets (+5.9) and the Thunder (+5.4), five other teams rate as +2.0 or better, putting them well within striking distance. Expect plenty more ups and downs before the West truly shakes out. ----------------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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