It was a rough week for the Portland Trail Blazers. Disheartening losses to the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks overshadowed the team’s lone win over the San Antonio Spurs—though Portland did make a splash off the court by acquiring Rodney Hood from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the tough stretch, national pundits remain high on Rip City, as reflected in this week’s Power Rankings Round-Up.
ESPN kept the Blazers eighth, and Marc J. Spears wonders if the team’s other deadline acquistion, Skal Laissiere, will get a chance in Portland:
Will center Skal Labissiere finally get a chance to show what he can do with Portland? The 6-foot-11, 235-pounder averaged 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 8.7 minutes in 13 games this season with Sacramento before being traded to Portland recently. The Haitian did not play for the Blazers in his potential debut in a 102-101 loss to the Mavericks on Sunday
CBS Sports dropped the team one spot to tenth. Chris Barnewall is a fan of Portland’s deadline activity:
I thought the Blazers made a couple of nice low-key moves last week, getting Rodney Hood, a valuable scoring option, for two second-rounders and some flotsam, and then flipping Caleb Swanigan for Skal Labissiere, who I’m still a believer in, reality be damned. These weren’t exactly needle-moving moves, to be sure. The Blazers didn’t make the splash they needed to make if they want to be considered the second-best team in the West after the Warriors. But they did what they could.
Sports Illustrated kept the Blazers ninth, but Khadrice Rollins is concerned with the team’s road woes—particularly Damian Lillard:
The team’s woes on the road can’t be entirely attributed to Lillard, but since he has a lower offensive rating, higher defensive rating and worse true shooting percentage while also having a higher usage rate than at home, he needs to get some of the credit for this discrepancy.
If Lillard can correct his issues on the road, particularly with his three-point shooting (38.4% at home and only 34.4% on the road), the Trail Blazers might hold onto fourth. If not, it’s going to be a long way down the standings before another first-round playoff exit makes it all stop.
After a tough loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder (and Sunday’s debacle in Dallas), they return home to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in their final game before the All-Star break.