The Portland Trail Blazers slipped across the board in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 1-2 Week 4 (through Monday, when most power rankings go live). Last week, the Blazers ranked as high as No. 14. This week, the Blazers slipped back into the 20-23 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 21 (down from 17).
With Damian Lillard believers sprouting up everywhere these days, it's probably best to keep asking questions about the rest of this new three-man core: LaMarcus Aldridge (still not shooting the ball anywhere near his norm) and a better-than-ever Nic (Can He Keep This Up?) Batum.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 20 (down from No. 16).
You would think that a seven-game trip and LaMarcus Aldridge's back issues would spell bad news for the Blazers. But they hung around against the Nets without Aldridge on Sunday to start the trip, and the remaining six games are all kind of winnable. In his two starts last week, Meyers Leonard totaled 24 points on 12-for-19 shooting, maybe earning a bigger role going forward.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 23 (down from 22). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
Thankful for ... Damian Lillard. This space has turned into a weekly shrine to Lillard, who continues to lead all rookies in almost every offensive category. The Blazers' guard has scored in double digits every game this season and turned Portland into an above-average offensive team (11th in points per game) after it was a middling squad (16th) last season. Lillard is the first player to average at least 19 points and six asssits in his first 10 games since some guy named Isiah Thomas in 1981.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 20 (same as last week).
They started a seven-game road trip on Sunday in Brooklyn (a loss) and making that swing without LaMarcus Aldridge will be the biggest test for this team.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 20 (down from No. 14 ).
Losing LaMarcus Aldridge (hopefully not for long) only heightened the bench's utter inability to produce. In Sunday's loss to the Nets, the reserves couldn't generate a single point until midway through the fourth quarter. The offense has evidently been good enough, though, because the Blazers are still almost .500 despite one of the league's least efficient defenses and a pretty tough schedule to date.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter