Following a 3-1 week and a trade that landed Norman Powell from the Raptors, the Trail Blazers held their ground inside the top 10 of multiple power rankings.
ESPN’s latest rankings kept the Blazers at No. 9. Contributor Royce Young explained that the rest of the Western Conference better look out for Portland in the postseason.
The addition of Norman Powell is an interesting one for the Blazers. They are clearly in search of a two-way upgrade and defensive versatility to complement Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but it also opens the door for small-ball lineups with Robert Covington playing the 4. As Portland gets healthy and its depth has been reinforced, it has the look of a dangerous group that might be a bigger playoff threat than some are giving the Blazers credit for.
The Blazers moved up one spot to No. 8 in the newest list from CBS Sports. Colin Ward-Henninger highlighted what Powell’s presence and McCollum’s return could bring to Portland’s high-octane offense.
Portland added another scorer at the deadline in Norman Powell, who will take some offensive pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, while sacrificing some wing size with the departure of Gary Trent Jr. The Blazers lost to the Nets before sweeping the Florida teams (Heat, Magic, Raptors) to close out the week. Powell averaged 17.5 points and hit 6-of-9 3-pointers in his first two games with the team, while McCollum has started to get going after a lengthy absence, averaging 27 points over his last three games.
Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil kept the Blazers at No. 9 in this week’s rankings. Dakhil detailed how Powell is an upgrade over Gary Trent Jr. and touched on Jusuf Nurkic’s return to the lineup.
As good as Trent has been for the Blazers, Powell is a better shooter from three, and even though he is smaller, he defends bigger, which will help the Blazers.
Powell impressed in his first game as a Blazer. He dropped 22 points while going 5-of-7 from three. Nurkic jumped right back into the starting lineup for Portland but was on a minutes restriction as he began working his way back into form.
The Blazers face a three-game slate this week. That schedule tips off against the Pistons on Wednesday.