The Portland Trail Blazers have climbed more than 20 spots in ESPN The Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" franchise rankings, placing at No. 57 out of 122 in this year's list. Details of the rankings...
The poll combines fan opinions across a comprehensive range of issues, covering 25 topics across eight major categories - Affordability, Bang for the Buck, Coaching, Fan Relations, Ownership, Players, Stadium Experience and Title Track - and combining all teams' scores into a weighted average.
The Blazers ranked No. 14 among NBA teams. The list's top four overall teams came from the NBA, rather than the NFL, NHL or MLB. In order: Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Blazers placed between the Los Angeles Clippers (No. 55) and Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 60) among NBA teams.
In 2012, Portland ranked No. 81. In 2011, Portland ranked No. 31.
As far as I can tell, this year's full rankings, including the category breakdown, haven't hit the web yet. All data here is pulled from this week's magazine.
Update: Here's the Blazers' breakdown, which is now online. Text via Ben Arledge...
As Terry Stotts enters his second season at the helm with a whole new arsenal, the fans must like what they've seen so far: Portland's coaching rank has risen 44 spots since he picked up the clipboard in 2012. LaMarcus Aldridge and Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard are the heart of the team, but trading for Robin Lopez will help shore up the interior defense that was so weak last season, and the other offseason adds of CJ McCollum, Mo Williams and Thomas Robinson will provide depth.
In fact, snagging McCollum 10th overall had immediate results. The Lehigh University product lit up summer league ball with 21.0 points per game and figures to share time with Wesley Matthews at the 2. The team has not gone past the first round of the playoffs since 1999-2000. However, with new player acquisitions and fan promotions like #RipCityPix Instagram Night and their Sportlandia radio show, the Trail Blazers managed a nice move up our standings with success potentially on the horizon. Now, a Portland team in the postseason -- wouldn't that be weird?
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter