After the first week of play in the NBA regular season, the Athletic’s Zach Harper has released his power rankings, and the Portland Trail Blazers come in at a surprising 16th place, perhaps because Harper apparently completed his rankings prior to the painful loss the Blazers suffered to the Los Angeles Clippers.
16. Portland Trail Blazers (Previously 16th), 1-1, +12.5 net rating
Weekly Slate: Loss to Kings, Win over Suns
First-impression from Week 1: After the way the Trail Blazers lost to Sacramento to start the season, I did not expect them to handle the Suns the way they did. Damian Lillard started off slowly in the first game, but CJ McCollum looks great already. His scoring kept them in it against Sacramento, and it helped fuel them over Phoenix. I’m mostly impressed with the way Jusuf Nurkic has started the season. He’s just so active and mobile for them. Making plays while on the move. I know he’s built toward this over the last three seasons, but he’s really comfortable in that role now. He’s comfortable with the responsibilities that extend beyond just being a big guy. Thankfully, Norman Powell isn’t seriously injured and they should at least be able to keep things together in the short term. Would love to see what this team looks like with a mostly healthy season for once.
You can read Harper’s entire rankings here (subscription required).