Blazers Rise In Week 18 NBA Power Rankings

USA TODAY Sports

A summary of the Portland Trail Blazers' standing in various 2012-13 Week 18 NBA power rankings.

The Portland Trail Blazers rose in the latest round of NBA Power Rankings after a 1-1 week (Through Monday, when most Power Rankings go live) that included a loss to the Denver Nuggets and a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Last week, the Blazers mostly ranged from 19-24. This week, they mostly ranged from No. 17 to No. 20.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No.19).

On the rebounding front: J.J. Hickson is up to nine 15-and-15 games this season -- second only to Dwight Howard -- but LaMarcus Aldridge recently went seven straight games with six boards or fewer. That's Aldridge's longest such streak since a 16-gamer during his rookie season in 2006-07.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 20 (up from No. 22).

After a brutal February in which they got outscored by more than 10 points per 100 possessions, the Blazers were probably happy to flip the calendar to March. They played just two games last week, but that was enough for rookie Meyers Leonard to break out, scoring 25 total points in the two games. Still, he was a little too excited about dunking on a 36-year-old point guard on Wednesday.

Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (up from No. 19). Note: this one was posted last Friday.

A Western Conference scout gave Damian Lillard a less-than-glowing review to Sean Deveney of Sporting News recently, highlighting Lillard's ability to score but adding he needs to "improve his playmaking." Lillard averages is 14th in assists among point guards (6.4) and is clearly still a work in progress. That said, he's light years ahead of most rookie point guards, leaving little doubt that his playmaking will catch up to his scoring soon enough.

Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk.com ranks the Blazers No. 20 (up from No. 24).

As their focus goes from making the playoffs to the summer, the question I wonder about is if LaMarcus Aldridge can be the recruiter the Blazers can use to go with that cap space they have.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Blazers No. 18 (up from No. 19 last week).

Forbes magazine ranks Blazers owner Paul Allen as the world's 53rd richest man and the NBA's richest owner at $15 billion, surpassing the Brooklyn Nets' Mikhail Prokhorov ($13 billion).

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 20 last week).

Maybe they can just play the Bobcats for the rest of the season.

Trying really hard to fight their way through their roster makeup. Still able to rattle teams like Boston at home.

David Aldridge of NBA.com did not include the Blazers in his "fine 15" this week.

John Hollinger (formerly) of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 21 (up from No. 24 last week).

According to Hollinger's team stats, the Blazers ranked...

  • No. 14 (up from No. 16 last week) in offensive efficiency
  • No. 25 (same as last week) in defensive efficiency
  • No. 17 (down from No. 16 last week) in rebound rate
  • No. 18 (up from No. 19 last week) in pace

Hollinger's Playoff odds: 5.1 percent

Basketball-Reference.com Playoff Forecast: 1.5 percent

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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