Coming on the heels of a top-3 finish in the Western Conference, the Trail Blazers have found themselves in the good graces of ESPN’s NBA Power Rankings, coming in at No. 10. Even without any major activity from Portland, the team was praised for the tweaks that were made:
“...The additions of Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry bolster the shooting depth of an already solid perimeter team. Shabazz Napier had a breakout season filling in for Damian Lillard and Ed Davis is a consistent energy player, but their losses can be quickly filled by other in-house options.”
ESPN did mention the Blazers’ collapse in the playoffs, but claim that the front office didn’t put much stock into it according to the offseason moves:
“The Blazers appeared to take a big step forward last season before a first-round face plant, and with the conservative offseason approach it looks as if the front office is betting on the finish being a fluke.”
The top of the rankings feature the obvious elite trio of the Warriors, Celtics, and Rockets. Also ahead of Portland are the Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, and Lakers — all of which the Blazers finished ahead of in the Western Conference last year.