The Portland Trail Blazers slipped pretty much across the board in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 0-3 Week 2 (through Monday, when most power rankings go live). Last week, the Blazers finished anywhere between 17 and 20. This week, the Blazers are anywhere from 18 to 25.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 20 (down from 17).
Although you can't exactly put it up there with David Stern's retirement announcement, James Harden's trade to OKC or the Lakers' coaching saga, Portland just produced an early shocker of its own when its bench got outscored 63-4 by San Antonio's. Sixty-three to four!
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 21 (down from No. 17).
A day after Jason Quick eviscerated LaMarcus Aldridge's shot selection, Aldridge proceeded to take 22 of his 26 shots from outside the paint against the Spurs on Saturday. The bigger problem, of course, is the Blazers' defense, which allowed 117 points per 100 possessions over three games last week. After a tough start, their schedule does ease up over the next 12 days.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (same as last week).
Lee Jenkins and I were the only ones at SI.com brave enough to tab Damian Lillard as our pick for Rookie of the Year, but the bandwagon is filling up quickly after four games, even if people aren't sure yet how to pronounce his name. They'll learn fast. The point guard is showing poise beyond his years, becoming just the third player in history to tally at least 20 points and 10 assists in his debut, against the Lakers. He then turned in an equally impressive performance (20 points, nine assists, six rebounds) in an OT win against the Rockets three nights later. If Lillard keeps this up, he'll take home the rookie hardware and keep Portland relevant all season.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 22 (down from No. 16).
They were 0-3 last week and you can blame a porous defense more than LaMarcus Aldridge shooting too many jump shots (even though he is).
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 25 (down from No. 18).
I can't figure out if it's a good thing or a bad thing they seem so confused as to why they're struggling.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 19 (up from No. 20).
Portland's suffered a tough schedule to open the season, but that bench isn't looking qualified to hang with any opponent of any caliber.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter