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Lowe: ‘Blazers are the Quality Control Dividing Line’

ESPN’s Zach Lowe explains that the Trail Blazers are gatekeepers to the top teams to watch in his annual League Pass Rankings.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Trail Blazers are determined to claim a spot alongside the NBA’s elite teams and they have all the ingredients to make that pursuit an entertaining one. Each year, ESPN’s Zach Lowe ranks each team’s watchability in his League Pass rankings. For the 2019-20 season, he placed Portland at No. 14.

Unsurprisingly, Lowe pointed to the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum when explaining the Blazers’ placement on the list.

The Blazers are the quality control dividing line -- a comfort-food movie. They have more star power than the teams beneath them, though most of it is of the below-the-rim-variety. The teams above them bring more juicy unknowns.

Damian Lillard is a stone-faced destroyer of franchises. CJ McCollum is the league’s preeminent midrange artist -- a leaning, bobbing, weaving, stop-on-a-dime phantom. Fans in Denver are still traumatized by what McCollum unleashed in Game 7 of last season’s second round.

Lowe also mentioned the Blazers’ talented duo of Zach Collins and Anfernee Simons before giving a stamp of approval to Portland’s 50-year anniversary court. Hassan Whiteside’s penchant for producing highlight-worthy blocks also earned recognition.

Zach Collins swats at enemy shots with sneering violence. If he hones his 3-pointer, he might become Portland’s third franchise tentpole. Everyone is dying to see Anfernee Simons. Hassan Whiteside supplies dunks, and he has a knack for catching shots -- swallowing them whole -- instead of blocking them. That’s cool.


The art and broadcast are top-notch. I dig the Blazers returning to a white painted area for their 50th anniversary season.

You can read Lowe’s complete rankings at ESPN.