The Portland Trail Blazers received an "A" for their midseason grade from NBA.com.
Jeff Caplan writes...
How could a team whose star predicted a finish as the seventh or eighth seed -- yet is flirting with the No. 1 seed halfway through the season -- receive anything other than an A? The Blazers have been the talk of the league, a feel-good story after the years of suffering through the Jail Breakers and the litany of injuries that have doomed this franchise. Portland is the only team in the league to have started the same five players in every game it's played this season. Nicolas Batum has kept that streak alive lately by playing through a broken left middle finger because he doesn't want to come out of the lineup.
Two big questions face the Blazers: 1) Can they continue their torrid shooting through the second half, and 2) Will their middling defense come back to bite them when their shooting goes cold, and especially in a long playoff series when things get down and dirty?
The full report card -- which offers grades for specific positional categories -- can be found right here.
Portland joined the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs as the only teams to receive top marks.
(Update: Apologies for the incorrect link on the next one ealier. It's updated...)
CBSSports.com gave the Blazers an "A" at midseason.
Remember: They finished 33-49 last season, and ended things by losing  straight games. Forty games in, they'd need to lose 40 of their next 42 to fail not surpassing last season's win total. And here's the best thing about them: Even when it looked like they were about to come back to reality, when things were about to start settling for them, the Blazers went on the road and beat the Spurs and Mavericks, extending a five-game win streak. The Blazers are for real, for real.
ESPN.com's "Winter Forecast" panel predicted the Blazers would win 57 games, listed Blazers coach Terry Stotts as Coach of the Year, and had LaMarcus Aldridge in fifth on the MVP rankings.
My midseason grades for all 30 teams are here.
Be sure to follow Blazersedge's new official Twitter account here.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter