Coming off of last season’s disappointing playoff exit, the Portland Trail Blazers have gotten off to an excellent start in the 2018-19 NBA campaign. After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in LeBron’s debut, as well as the injury depleted San Antonio Spurs, the national media has started to take notice. The Blazers are a nearly unanimous top 10 team in the power rankings of three prominent media outlets released Monday.
ESPN has the Blazers ninth, and Marc J. Spears sees no sign of things slowing down:
The Blazers have come out the game with two solid wins, and one of the great point guard matchups will take place on Monday, as Portland’s Damian Lillard faces the Washington Wizards’ John Wall. Lillard has started off as expected, with team-best averages of 28.5 points and 6.5 assists. With Washington, Orlando and Miami ahead, it is very possible that the Blazers can still be undefeated entering next week.
Sports Illustrated slotted the team eighth, and Khadrice Rollins was impressed with Nik Stauskus’ performance in the season opener:
Nik Stauskas ruining LeBron’s Lakers debut will easily be one of the top 10 moments of this season. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will continue to do what they have done for the past few years as you saw against the Spurs on Saturday. But some combo of Sauce Castillo, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Evan Turner and Seth Curry has to fill in the rest of the offensive production on a nightly basis.
CBS Sports isn’t ready to board the hype train just yet, ranking the team 12th. However, Reid Forgrave is high on the stellar start for Zach Collins:
I’ll let you in on a secret: Zach Collins is going to be a big-time contributor off the bench for the Blazers this season. A team with as much backcourt talent as the Blazers have needs some positive developments in the frontcourt, and Collins is becoming a more well-rounded player. The defensive force blocked a career-high six shots on opening night against the Lakers, then two nights later showed his expanding offensive arsenal by dropping in a couple 3s against the Spurs.