Drew Garrison has come up with the first SBNation NBA Power Rankings of the season.
To nobody's surprise, the San Antonio Spurs are ranked #1 overall, though Drew makes a bold move placing the Cleveland Cavaliers 4th overall behind the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls. Either he's pulling no punches or he's leaving space for growth.
The Portland Trail Blazers rank 10th in this initial assessment. Drew's explanation:
The Trail Blazers caught lightning in a bottle last year, with Damian Lillard unleashing all that energy onto the Rockets when he eliminated them in buzzer-beating fashion. Still, the Spurs dispersed of Portland with ease, and the front office stood pat to give this group another chance. Lillard may have put up huge numbers in his second year, but the Blazers' defense was still mediocre.
More surprising than the general assessment are the teams ranked above Portland: Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks. Whether you agree with the placement or not, it shows how tight the race is going to be this year.
Check out the rest of the list and debate where you'd place the Blazers in the comment section.