The Portland Trail Blazers are just one day away from beginning their season in Tinseltown against the Los Angeles Clippers.
After the Damian Lillard trade, there is optimism for the Blazers, but maybe not in the immediate future.
NBA insider Marc Stein released his first power rankings ahead of the season, and placed the Blazers at 28.
While true that the Trail Blazers declined to give franchise legend Damian Lillard the trade to Miami he wanted, it’s hard to argue with the results when they came away with Deandre Ayton, Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, Toumani Camara, first-round picks via Golden State (2024), Milwaukee (2029) and Boston (2029) and two more pick swaps with the Bucks (2028 and 2030). Instinct tells us that the Blazers will stay in the headlines, too, with Scoot Henderson at the forefront of the Rookie of the Year race and Jerami Grant, Brogdon and Williams sure to generate considerable trade interest.
Only the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards sit behind the Blazers in the rankings.
The Blazers come into the season with only five legitimate rotation players returning from a year ago (Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Matisse Thybulle, Jabari Walker), which makes Portland exciting going into the year.
Expectations are incredibly low, which means the only way to go is up. While there’s a chance that things could go sour in Portland this season, there’s a decent amount of potential for the Blazers to play spoiler for many teams throughout the year.
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