The Portland Trail Blazers made several key moves this offseason, from re-signing Rodney Hood to trading for Hassan Whiteside. But NBA Free Agency has brought about a number of changes around the league, too, and there’s ways for 10+ teams to talk themselves into being title contenders. In an early power rankings post-free agency, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report has Portland No. 11, slotted in the “playoff contenders” category:
The Blazers had the “Larry David GIF” of offseasons.
New additions Kent Bazemore, Mario Hezonja, Nassir Little, Anthony Tolliver and Hassan Whiteside are projected to post a combined 1.1 wins above replacement. Departees Al-Farouq Aminu, Seth Curry, Maurice Harkless, Enes Kanter, Jake Layman, Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner are projected for 4.2.
Plus, Jusuf Nurkic is going to miss the start of the season with an injury.
But Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been prematurely counted out before. And their presence alongside the new Blazers could lift them beyond expectations.
Bailey has Portland outside of his categories of playoff near-locks and title contenders. Other West teams in the Blazers’ category include the Pelicans, Mavericks, T-Wolves, Kings, Thunder and Spurs.
You can read more of the rankings here.