The Portland Trail Blazers slipped just a touch in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 1-3 Week 5 (through Monday, when most power rankings go live). Last week, the Blazers ranked in the 20-23 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 23 (down from 21).
For all the fretting generated by LaMarcus Aldridge's so-so opening month, Portland's utterly anemic bench and the 0-4 start on this seven-game trip, Damian Lillard's continued success and the resurrection of J.J. Hickson is shielding the Pacific Northwest from full-on gloom. Isn't it?
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 22 (down from No. 20).
Nicolas Batum's ridiculous game-winner in Cleveland on Saturday salvaged something out of the Blazers' seven-game trip, which has included losses to the Pistons and Wizards and which concludes in Charlotte and Indiana this week. Before Batum's shot, Damian Lillard emerged from a funk in which he shot an ugly 16-for-59 (27 percent) over the first four games of the trip.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 23 (same as last week). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
The Blazers' starting five leads the league in scoring (85.1 ppg), which is a fancy way of saying they boast the worst bench in the NBA. The starters score an incredible 87.2 percent of Portland's points. In the Blazers' defense, their bench is as bare as any in the league. The second unit is made up of rookies, journeymen and poor-playing prospects. Terry Stotts is compensating by running his starters into the ground as Portland has four players who rank in the top 12 in minutes played, including Nicolas Batum (38.9), who is third. To put it in perspective, all four of those starters play more minutes than workhorses like Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo and Carmelo Anthony.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 22 (down from No. 20).
They lost to the Wizards and the Pistons, then needed a dramatic Nicolas Batum three to beat the Cavaliers. This is not a very good team. Sorry. Nice pieces but not a good team.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 22 (down from No. 20).
Portland's bench may or may not have woken up -- or at least rolled over, sniffled, and checked the clock -- during the weekend. That includes Joel Freeland, who had a nice couple of games after some disappointment and some DNP-CDs. They did come very close to losing to three of the league's worst teams in a single week, though.
John Hollinger of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 24.
According to Hollinger's team states, the Blazers ranked...
- No. 13 in offensive efficiency
- No. 26 in defensive efficiency
- No. 24 in rebound rate
- No. 22 in pace
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter