The Portland Trail Blazers hold a familiar spot entering into the tenth week of the NBA season. Following a 1-2 week, the team sits squarely in the middle of the pack in the eyes of the national media, as displayed in this week’s Power Rankings round-up.
ESPN kept the squad 12th, with Marc J. Spears highlighting the recent struggles of the team’s second unit:
Remember when Portland was first in the Western Conference after an 11-5 start? Now, the Blazers are in eighth place in the West after winning just five of their past 13 games. So what’s wrong? One problem is the Blazers need more scoring from their bench. Portland’s reserves showed some promise by scoring 58 in a win over Toronto on Friday.
Sports Illustrated has them 11th, up from 12th last week. However, Khadrice Rollins laments the pair of potentially costly intra-conference losses:
Friday’s win over the Raptors was much needed after road losses to the Rockets and Grizzlies. Too bad for the Trail Blazers, they probably won’t have to worry about a tiebreaker scenario with Toronto. Can’t say the same about Houston and Memphis though.
CBS Sports also has the Blazers 11th, down one spot from a week ago. Reid Forgrave points to the production drop-off of Zach Collins:
What’s the path forward for the Trail Blazers? They have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, yet the rest of their roster doesn’t exactly scream high ceiling. I’m a believer in Zach Collins, and he was fantastic to start the season, but he has largely fallen off from his hot start. Collins was averaging 1.1 blocks and shooting 36.8 percent from three his first 20 games; over the past nine games he’s averaging 0.6 blocks and shooting 23.1 percent from three.