The Trail Blazers’ opening night might not have been enjoyable to watch, but ESPN’s Zach Lowe is bullish on Portland’s entertainment value for the 2020-21 season. In his annual League Pass Rankings, Lowe explained that the Blazers’ style and star power is enough to earn them a spot in the top third of the NBA.
Before he got into the list, Lowe provided a refresher on how the League Pass Rankings work.
These are not power rankings! They are watchability scores derived from an ancient formula that revealed itself to Bill Simmons when he played one Pearl Jam album backward.
We reward teams between one and 10 points in each of five categories:
Zeitgeist: Do normal people care about this team?
Highlight potential/Star power: Do you linger on games because one player might do something amazing?
Style: Do they run cool plays?
League Pass minutiae: On a random night in January, sharp jerseys and funny announcers perk you up.
Unintentional comedy: Blame Simmons — and maybe the 2010-11 Washington Wizards.
When it came to the Blazers, Lowe placed coach Terry Stotts’ squad at No. 10 in the rankings. Judging by the analysis, Lowe gave Portland stellar marks in the League Pass minutiae category.
The Blazers are a top-3 art team, and their new court might be their best ever:
It’s clean and elegant: one shade of wood, blaring red paint, and the sport’s best logo alone at center stage. The flourishes come on the outskirts: the different-colored baselines — one red, one black — and the sidelines flowing from one color into the other. (One NBA 2K League team created a digital court with the two painted areas rendered in different colors. A real team will try that soon.)
Outside of the re-tooled court design for the 2020-21 season, Lowe highlighted the Blazers’ bold new uniforms.
The Blazers are busting out what the NBA calls the first brown jersey in league history:
The ripples evoke Oregon’s topography, and the colored stripes honor local Native American tribes. I think I like it?
Elsewhere in the rankings, the Thunder finished at No. 30 and the star-studded Nets finished at No. 1.
You can check out Lowe’s full rankings at ESPN.