By 750 THE GAME STAFF
The NBA season tipped off on Tuesday night with two games, but your Portland Trail Blazers tip off on Wednesday against the Clippers. You know what that means. It’s time to unleash predictions!
Here are some power rankings from the national media and how they rank the Portland Trail Blazers coming into the season. If you are a Blazers fan thinking of the playoffs. These predictions might have you second guessing that.
Chris Mannix, SI.com
29. Portland Trail Blazers
Joe Cronin got (deserved) praise for his handling of the Lillard trade, but draft picks can’t play, at least not this season. Portland has a nice core of Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe, and Deandre Ayton looks ecstatic to be anywhere but Phoenix. What will Cronin do with the rest of the roster? Can he find a taker for Jerami Grant? Will Malcolm Brogdon be on the move? Does Robert Williams III make any sense alongside Ayton? The Blazers aren’t done dealing.
30. Portland Trail Blazers
The best picks in the Blazers‘ collection are their own, and it’s safe to assume that they’ll be one of the three teams with the highest Lottery odds next May. But their next franchise cornerstone may already be on the roster, and Scoot Henderson will have the ball in his hands.
30. Portland Trail Blazers
On paper, there’s reason for some short-term optimism for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anfernee Simons could be in for a huge individual season, and if veterans Malcolm Brogdon, Jerami Grant and Robert Williams III last the whole season in Portland, the Blazers could at least be competitive.
But it certainly sounds like Brogdon understands that this season will be as much about the development of Scoot Henderson (and his chemistry with Deandre Ayton) as anything else.
Colin Ward-Henniger, cbssports.com
25. Portland Trail Blazers
Call me crazy, but Portland could actually be a sneaky playoff contender this year. If Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe arrive ahead of schedule, they’ll join Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton, Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams to form a pretty decent two-way core. Of course, winning might not be in the interests of the Blazers front office, so we’ll have to see how things go.
27. Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard is gone, but with a new generation of talent, including Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons, the Trail Blazers have a surprisingly bright future for a franchise that just lost its best player. This season marks a new chapter for Chauncey Billups, who, for the first time, will helm a team without the weight of playoff expectations. The spotlight now shifts to nurturing young talent. But with proven players like Deandre Ayton, Jerami Grant, and Robert Williams III in the fold, Portland could be far more competitive than expected.
It’s safe to say the national media is not a big fan of the Portland Trail Blazers this season with some outlets saying they will be the worst team in the NBA. The Las Vegas win total is at 28.5 which is the third lowest in the NBA.
The Blazers tip off on Wednesday night in Los Angeles when they take on the Clippers.