The Portland Trail Blazers have moved up across the board in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to a 2-1 start in Week One (through Monday, when most power rankings go live). Last week, the Blazers finished anywhere between 20 and 25 in preseason polls, with most of the placements between 21-22. This week, the Blazers are generally concentrated around 17-18.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from 20).
Didn't take long, did it? After three games and countless references to how he's the only player in history besides Oscar Robertson to reach at least 20 points and 7 assists in his first three NBA games, Damian Lillard has made it quite clear that there are two ROY favorites.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 23).
Yep, Damian Lillard is the real deal. The rook averaged 21.3 points and 9.0 assists as the Blazers went 2-1 last week, scoring eight of his team's 14 points in overtime against the Rockets on Saturday. After matching up with Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook and Jeremy Lin in Week 1, he faces Darren Collison, Chris Paul and Tony Parker in Week 2. Not a bad introduction to the league.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (up from No. 21).
Portland might have gotten the steal of the draft at No. 6 with Damian Lillard, who was the co-MVP of the Las Vegas summer league after averaging 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. With LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, the team is set at forward. Can rookie Meyers Leonard develop into the center they hoped Greg Oden would be? Either way, he'll play. The only other proven big men on the roster are J.J. Hickson and Jared Jeffries, neither of whom is suited for the center position.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 16 (up from No. 20).
Hey Damian Lillard, welcome to the NBA. Your first three games: Steve Nash and the Lakers, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets. Have fun storming the castle.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (up from No. 25).
Damian Lillard is legit. Let's see how many wins he can drag them to.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 20 (up from No. 21).
Yo, Damian Lillard is really good. LaMarcus Aldridge has had a productive though not especially efficient start, and Nicolas Batum's earning his paycheck so far, at least in Portland's two wins. That bench is worrisome, though. One worries about the reserves' ability to generate points and also about Will Barton's ability to walk around outside without falling through a sewer grate.
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