Entering the closing stretch of the NBA’s regular season, the Portland Trail Blazers remain in the upper echelon of the league’s hierarchy. Portland is closing in on clinching the third seed in the Western Conference with five games remaining on their schedule. Following wins over the Pelicans, Clippers and Grizzlies last week, three prominent national publications have the team as the fifth spot in their weekly power rankings.
ESPN dropped Portland a spot from last week. Jose De Leon notes that Al-Farouq Aminu is among the NBA’s best at knocking down the corner three:
Al-Farouq Aminu has been one of the best 3-point shooters from the corners, where he is shooting 48.3 percent this season, the sixth-highest percentage in the NBA among players with at least 75 such attempts.
Sports Illustrated raised the Blazers a spot, and Rohan Nadkarni thinks Jusuf Nurkic’s social media game is strong:
Portland has won four of five after a brief two-game losing streak. More importantly, this Jusuf Nurkic tweet is begging to be turned into a hot meme.
#RipCityOnTheyAss pic.twitter.com/REqQUfJvl3— Jusuf Nurkić (@bosnianbeast27) March 28, 2018
CBS Sports dropped the team two spots, and Chris Barnewall remains unsold on the Bosnian Beast:
Jusuf Nurkic has been disappointing this season. He hasn’t been awful by any means, but there are a lot of times where it feels like Portland is playing well in spite of him rather than because of him. A big playoff performance would erase any doubts there are with him.
The Blazers (48-29) are hitting the road to Texas this week, taking on the Mavericks tomorrow, the Rockets on Thursday and the Spurs on Saturday, before heading back west to the Mile High City for a date with the Nuggets next Monday.