The guys at CBSSports.com's Eye On Basketball have handed out first quarter grades for the 2012-13 season and the Portland Trail Blazers received a B+.
Portland Trail Blazers: B+
Somehow, the Blazers are 10-12. They have one of the worst benches in basketball, they're relying on a rookie point guard to score the bulk of their points and they don't have a whole lot of talent.
But with a big home win over the Spurs to build on, it does appear the Blazers have a good direction about them. Damian Lillard is a budding star, LaMarcus Aldridge is pretty close to one already, Nicolas Batum is a very good piece and players like Wesley Matthews and J.J. Hickson have been decent role players. They probably aren't going to get into the playoff conversation, but the team is very competitive and seems to be headed on a positive path.
Grades for the rest of the Northwest Division: Oklahoma City Thunder (A+), Mnnesota Timberwolves (A-), Utah Jazz (B) and Denver Nuggets (D).
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also named Blazers guard Damian Lillard his first quarter Rookie of the Year.
Rookie of the year: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
Rookie of the Month for November, Damian Lillard leads all first-year players in scoring (18.4 points per game), minutes (37.8) and assists (6.4). There's nobody close in terms of overall impact.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter