The Trail Blazers turned in a 2-2 record last week, moving their overall record to 12-10. In the latest batch of power rankings, the Blazers’ placement remained the same (for the most part).
In ESPN’s latest rankings, Portland dropped a single spot from No. 11 to No. 12. ESPN contributor Royce Young explained that the Blazers’ slide is tied to the heavy workload that Damian Lillard has undertaken with CJ McCollum out of the lineup.
As the Blazers try to stay afloat in the West as they deal with injuries, Damian Lillard’s workload is something to monitor. The Blazers are attentive to his minutes (they’re hovering around his career average), but in a condensed season coming off a short offseason, Lillard is carrying a heavy burden.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor kept the Blazers at No. 14 in his rankings. When it came time to explain Portland’s placement, O’Connor used that slot to praise Nassir Little’s 30-point outburst against the Bucks.
Little scored from everywhere. Pull-ups. Cuts. Catch-and-shoot 3s. Transition. This is the type of scorer North Carolina was hoping it’d get when Little committed as a top high school recruit. He’s also the scorer the Trail Blazers hoped for when he was selected 25th in 2019. One big game doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it shows he’s capable. At only 20 years old, could Little develop into a player who bolsters Portland’s Finals dreams?
Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil kept the Blazers at No. 13 in the latest rankings. Dakhil expressed concerns over Lillard’s recent injury issues in the segment attached to Portland’s placement.
The Blazers have been able to stay afloat since the loss of CJ McCollum, going 4-5 in their last nine games. But if Lillard is going to play hurt, rough waters might be ahead.
The Blazers open their four-game week with a matchup against the Magic on Tuesday. Three of those four contests will unfold at the Moda Center.