DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Portland Trail Blazers starting to take flight

David Aldridge

(Last week’s record in parenthesis; last week’s ranking in brackets)

1) Houston Rockets (3-0) [1]: Defense continues to be on point for Rockets. During their 15-game win streak they’ve been among the top teams in the league (fourth in the league in Defensive Rating, at 103 points per 100).

2) Golden State Warriors (3-0) [2]: Signs of life from Andre Iguodala (14 and seven against the Wizards; game-preserving strip and slam against the Hawks Friday) at just the right time.

3) Toronto Raptors (4-0) [3]: The Raps’ bench gets after it defensively: length, quickness and force.

4) Boston Celtics (2-1) [5]: No matter how many times Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge say it, the True Believers still hold out hope of a Gordon Hayward return this season.

5) Portland Trail Blazers (3-0) [14]: Rookie Zach Collins starting to get more consistent burn at center as the Blazers have gone up like a rocket in the West.

6) Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) [8]: Josh Huestis getting the nod with the starters in Andre Roberson’s spot.

7) San Antonio Spurs (0-2) [4]: As bad a patch (lost eight of last 10) as the Spurs have had in the Gregg Popovich era, and the schedule after Monday’s game with the Grizzlies doesn’t provide much relief.

8) Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) [6]: No soup for you!

9) Indiana Pacers (2-2) [10]: Trevor Booker will help the Pacers. Trevor Booker would have helped the 76ers. Trevor Booker did help the Nets. I pretty much feel like Trevor Booker helps any other four guys on a basketball court.

10) New Orleans Pelicans (3-0) [15]: Anthony Davis rightly gets most of the attention, but Rajon Rondo has been diming teammates up (9.9 assists per) during the Pelicans’ eight-game win streak.

11) Washington Wizards (1-3) [9]: Clip ‘N Save: Coach Scott Brooks does see potential playoff lineups with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Tomas Satoransky on the floor together. Which would be damned interesting.

12) Milwaukee Bucks (1-3) [7]: Still don’t understand why the Bucks struggle so often to score, with all the weapons now at their disposal besides “The Greek Freak”.

13) Denver Nuggets (2-1) [13]: Nobody in the West gets a post-buyout add to the roster like Paul Millsap back in the starting lineup for the Nuggets.

14) Philadelphia 76ers (2-2) [11]: Lotta neck beard on the Sixers’ bench all of a sudden with the additions of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli. Portends well for the stretch drive.

15) Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2) [12]: Wolves, having played the most games in the league this season, finally get a break in March: six days off (!) before playing the Celtics Thursday, and just two back to backs all month.

* * *

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.