Power Rankings: Blazers Stick Around Despite Going Winless In Week Six

by Casey Holdahl
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In last week, I lamented that it didn't seem as though the Trail Blazers were getting the respect they deserved from the Power Rankers for going 4-1 on a five-game road trip. But that criticism, minor as it was, was probably unfair in hindsight considering Portland didn't take a nosedive in this week's rankings despite being beated soundly in both of their games last week, at home, versus the Bucks and Pelicans. Things tend to even out.

So despite going 0-2 last week, the Trail Blazers didn't see too much downward movement in the Week Six rankings. But if they go winless again this week in their two games, both at home, versus the Wizards and Rockets, that relative stasis won't last, in the rankings or the standings.

Onto this week's Power Rankings...

• The panel of voters at ESPN.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 11 this week, three spots worse than last week...

Even after getting touched up by Boogie Cousins for 38 points Saturday night, the Blazers rank fourth in defensive efficiency, and no team allows a lower field goal percentage in the restricted area (54.1 percent).

The folks at ESPN.com have the Trail Blazers behind the Nuggets at No. 10 and ahead of the Bucks at No. 12.

• John Schuhmann of NBA.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 13 this week, four spots worse than last week...

Pace: 99.5 (16) OffRtg: 102.9 (22) DefRtg: 100.3 (4) NetRtg: +2.6 (9)

After a 4-1 trip, the Blazers returned home, got some days off (they're playing just four games in a 13-day stretch), and got Al-Farouq Aminu back from a 13-game absence. And then they had one of their worst offensive games of the season against Milwaukee on Thursday and one of their worst defensive games of the season against New Orleans (without Anthony Davis) on Saturday, with the magic of their new starting lineup (Pat Connaughton at small forward) wearing off. After it scored 124 points per 100 possessions in its first three games, the lineup scored 86 in the last two.

Schuhmann has the Trail Blazers behind the Jazz at No. 12 and ahead of the Thunder at No. 14.

• David Aldridge, also of NBA.com, has the Trail Blazers at No. 13 this week, three spots worse than last week...

What is up with the Blazers at home (7-6) this season? Another bad performance at Moda Saturday, against the Pelicans.

Good question.

Aldridge has the Trail Blazers behind the Wizards at No. 12 and ahead of the Jazz at No. 14.

• The panel of voters at USA Today has the Trail Blazers at No. 11 this week, two spots worse than last week...

The Blazers, who were 21st in the NBA last season with a defensive rating of 107.8, rank fourth on that end of the floor this season, allowing 100.3 points per 100 possessions.

USA Today has the Trail Blazers behind the Wizards at No. 10 and ahead of the Nuggets at No. 12.

• Chris Barnewall at CBSSports.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 9 this week, two spots worse than last week...

It's really weird to see Portland have such a great defense and a terrible offense. They have an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 49.2 percent, which is laughably low for a team that in previous years was so strong.

Barnewall has the Trail Blazers behind the Pistons at No. 8 and ahead of the Wizards at No. 10.

• Kenny Ducey at SI.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 10 this week, which is actually one spot better than last week. Go figure...

Let’s take you back to Oct. 23’s NBA Power Rankings:

Portland currently ranks in the top three in net rating, but they’ve beaten up on the Pacers and Suns to get there. They certainly impressed against the Bucks, but I’m not quite sure they’re on that level yet. Side note: Is Meyers Leonard not a thing anymore? Two straight games with a DNP-CD. We need to get him back in the lineup for his annual battle with DeMarcus Cousins.

Well, guess what. Good ol’ Meyers got back in there after a brief hiatus and not a moment too soon. He went to WORK against his rival.

When these guys get together, magic happens.

Ducey has the Trail Blazers behind the 76ers at No. 9 and ahead of the WIzards at No. 11.

• Grant Hughes at Bleacher Report, in rankings posted on November 30, has the Trail Blazers at No. 9, three spots better than last week...

Portland is second in the league in defensive rating. Much of that stems from opponents' converting a lower percentage of their shots at the rim against Portland than anyone else (and the third-lowest percentage from long distance). But the longer those trends persist, the less likely they're complete anomalies.

The Blazers are doing something.

One potential key: Portland allows the fewest corner-three attempts in the league.

The Blazers got crushed by the Bucks to close out the month, but that hefty defeat doesn't undo a terrific 9-5 November.

Hughes has the Trail Blazers behind the 76ers at No. 9 and ahead of the Thunder at No. 10.

• Will Guillory at NOLA.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 11 this week, four spots worse than last week...

Portland dropped to 13-10 after losing its last two games and its next three come against teams with a combined 48-20 record.

Guillory has the Trail Blazers behind the Timberwolves at No. 10 and ahead of the Wizards at No. 12.