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Trail Blazers Hanging with Celtics, Timberwolves in NBA Power Rankings

Portland stands in the middle of the pack among their NBA peers, but have good company.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021-22 NBA season has been open for almost ten days now, which means the Portland Trail Blazers and 29 other franchises are getting a look at the initial power rankings for the new year. Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report is one of the first writers out of the gate, and he’s a bit bullish on the Blazers, though not enough to rank them much above their current 2-2 record.

Bailey puts Portland in the 17th slot, right below the Minnesota Timberwolves and above the 18th-ranked Boston Celtics. The ranking is a slip from the team’s 12th-place preseason ranking.

Of the Blazers, Bailey says:

Early returns from the Portland Trail Blazers’ Chauncey Billups era have felt a bit like a roller coaster. In their second game of the season, they beat the Phoenix Suns by 29. Then, they lost by 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. And finally, on Wednesday, the Blazers bounced back with a 20-point home win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

So, which team is Portland? Of course, it’s too early to say definitively, but history suggests Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will make the Blazers, at the very least, competitive. The fact that they’re 2-0 with Damian Lillard shooting 33.3 percent from the field suggests they’ll be headed in the right direction in no time. Lillard will undoubtedly be better.

He also credits Portland’s bench with having potential.

The lowly Detroit Pistons inhabit the 30th spot on Bailey’s list, with the indomitable Utah Jazz riding high in 1st.

The Blazers will face the Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76’ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers in the coming week.

We’ll update this post as more rankings become available.