The first month of the Portland Trail Blazers’ season has previous doubters rethinking their position. But they’re not the only team currently turning heads, as the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies find themselves in the top 4 in the West as well, nothing anyone saw coming.
A roundtable of NBA.com writers gathered to discuss the three surprise teams, answering: “Which team is more likely to remain in the top 3 out West after 40 games?”
Everyone picked the Blazers.
Steve Aschburner calls back to the playoffs sweep and how it changed the team:
To rebound from that and to fully honor their revered owner, the late Paul Allen, that high-intangibles team wants and needs to max out this season however it can.
Shaun Powell says the decision is easy because Portland has the best player:
This usually leans toward strength of upcoming schedule, but let’s go with the Blazers, who have the best player on either of the three teams -- Damian Lillard -- and obviously have learned a lesson from their first-round sweep last spring.
John Schuhmann is intrigued by Memphis, but Portland’s record against winning teams is undeniable:
But I’ll stick with the Blazers, who are not only in first place in the West, but have the best record (7-2) in games played between the 16 teams that have winning records.
And Sekou Smith likes the Blazers’ profile:
The Trail Blazers have the right profile and should be the pick here.
Portland currently holds the best record in the Western Conference at 12-5. They play another top team in the Bucks Wednesday night.