The Portland Trail Blazers are 5-12 after beating the Indiana Pacers on the road on Monday. This comes just one day after they gave the Milwaukee Bucks quite the run, showing signs that the team is improving.
Let’s take a look at how power rankings across the internet have the Blazers ranked:
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 26 (previously No. 27)
While the Pistons, Spurs and Wizards kept their losing streaks going last week, the Blazers put an end to theirs (eight games) with a win over the Jazz on Wednesday, easily their best offensive performance (121 points on 99 possessions) of the season.
Zach Harper, The Athletic: No. 24 (previously No. 27)
New face in a new place: Deandre Ayton
I don’t know if this is a hot take, but I think Ayton has been pretty acceptable for the Blazers. Granted, the notions of DominAYTON were absurd and lacked self-awareness. But he’s finishing with good efficiency and rebounding quite well, and his defense has mostly been fine. This Blazers team has been filled with injuries already, so I’d like to see how he impacts a healthier lineup. Averaging 13 and 11 on an awful team isn’t exactly killing it, but I think he’s been fine, considering the circumstances.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: No. 23 (previously No. 30)
Turns out all the Blazers needed was Malcolm Brogdon back in the lineup, as they’ve won two of the first three games since his return — they also had the Bucks on the ropes before relinquishing a 26-point lead in the loss. The big difference was the defense, which has held opponents to 106 points per 100 possessions since Brogdon’s return compared to 114 before that. With some of the opponent’s defensive pressure directed elsewhere for a change, Jerami Grant averaged 28 points this week on Durant-like 54/69/88 shooting splits. Scoot Henderson also returned after a lengthy absence, averaging 10 points and three assists over the team’s last three games.