NBA Western Power Rankings Week 5: Thunder thrive, Grizzlies rise

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Nov 24, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots the ball between Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) and center Joakim Noah (13) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

11th: Portland Trail Blazers (15 points — ahead of Kings due to less bottom-five votes, and less players-only meetings and locker room arguments)

By Tom West

Record: 7-11

Record last week: 1-2

The Blazers looked fairly promising at the start of this season. After being stripped bare with the departure of so many key players like Wesley Matthews and most importantly LaMarcus Aldridge, they put together a few wins and didn’t look as terrible as many expected. Now, however, they’re only 3-7 over their last 10 games and have fallen to a 7-11 record.

As has been the case throughout the start of their 2015-16 campaign, it’s been their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum that’s been carrying the bulk of the load so far. Except for a game against the Chicago Bulls where they shot a combined 11-of-39 (largely due to Lillard missing 18 shots), they were at it again last week as they have been for most of the season.

Despite their efforts, though, and their 44.2 points per game and hot three point shooting, the Blazers just don’t have enough weapons anymore to make much happen. They’ve been relying on this duo, and have few other options on offense to look to. They can get some hustle points from Mason Plumlee, the odd three from Al-Farouq Aminu or Meyers Leonard, and that’s about it. On defense, they also lack much of an interior presence to hold their team together and only rank 18th in defensive efficiency because of it.

With games coming up against the Mavericks, Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, they don’t have an easy outlook to end their losing spell.

Next: Houston Rockets