Here's how the Portland Trail Blazers stack up in the various NBA power rankings as we enter week one of the 2013-14 season.
No. 16: Marc Stein, ESPN.com
The West might be lacking the outright title favorites we're used to seeing, but it's as deep as ever over there. So it'll take sustained health for a change, in addition to that bolstered bench, for Portland to live up to LaMarcus Aldridge's vows to crack the conference's top eight.
No. 19: Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports
LaMarcus Aldridge says Portland can earn the West's seventh playoff spot. The return of promising rookie C.J. McCollum (foot) will help that cause once he can play.
No. 16: Matt Dollinger, SI.com
The Blazers bolstered their bench by adding Mo Williams, CJ McCollum, Thomas Robinson and Dorell Wright, which should give their overworked starters relief. Bringing in Robin Lopez gives them a capable defensive center, too. This could be a make-or-break year in Portland for a lot of people, including LaMarcus Aldridge and coach Terry Stotts, but it helps that the Blazers have better talent.
No. 14: Matt Moore, CBSSports.com
All-Star, check. Talented point guard, check. Upgraded bench, check. I keep trying to find reasons why this team will disappoint and keep coming up short.
No. 17: Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk
LaMarcus Aldridge promised Portland would get the 7 seed in the West, then went out and led the team to a 5-2 record in the preseason. Maybe this is going to work.
No. 14: John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Robin Lopez will help the Blazers' defense and the bench should obviously be better with the additions of Mo Williams and Dorell Wright. But what could really help Portland compete for a playoff spot (and take some of the pressure off Lopez on both ends of the floor) is a decent leap from any two of their second-year bigs: Victor Claver, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard and Thomas Robinson.
Not in top 15: David Aldridge, NBA.com
No. 15: Jason Patt, SB Nation
The Trail Blazers had arguably the worst bench in the league last year, and they made it a point to upgrade this offseason. The injury to rookie C.J. McCollum hurts, but the improved bench along with the core of Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum should have Portland contending for a playoff spot in the West. If not, Aldridge may find himself on the trading block.
Opening night of the 2013-14 season is Tuesday. The Blazers will open on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter