NBA Western Power Rankings Week 6: Clippers start rising

8 of 16

Dec 11, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; The Portland Trail Blazers players celebrate from the bench in the second half against Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Trail Blazers won 106-96. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

9th: Portland Trail Blazers (12 points)

By Trisity Miller

Record: 10-15

Record last week: 3-4

Losing games is a good thing for the Trail Blazers. The West, at the moment, isn’t good enough to where Portland can be blindingly mediocre and not make the playoffs. I mean, the Grizzlies are currently 5th in the conference, which says everything you need to know about the conference.

Besides, they’re not talented enough to routinely win games, as the cracks are beginning to show in the team, namely cracks that forced many to consider Portland to be one of the word teams in the NBA coming into this season as the offseason was somewhat unkind (using LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez; trading Nicolas Batum).

But in the losses (3-4 in December), the light shines at the end of the tunnel. If they can keep it close with teams like Dallas and Cleveland at this state, imagine how they’ll turn out if they can manage to draw a top draft pick and secure a notable talent or two in free agency, all while its core (Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Noah Vonleh, etc.) continue to develop on the right path. That’s the making of a good team for the future, giving fans reason to remain optimistic through it all (POR is currently

Two bright spots through the month? 1) Allen Crabbe’s play of late, averaging 15.4 points on 5.3% shooting (43.3% from three) and 2.6 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game. 2) Only the Warriors and Spurs have performed better on offense than the Trail Blazers in December.

A rough spot? Accompanying the 109.2 offensive rating is an abysmal and near-equal 109.7 defensive rating in the seven games.

Next: Houston Rockets