Monday, December 23, 2013

2013-14 NBA Power Rankings, Week 9

Less than two months into the new season, the Portland Trail Blazers are only 10 wins from tying their 2012-13 win total.

One year after finishing 16 games below .500 (33-49), the Blazers are 18 games above .500 and have the league's best record at 23-5.

The Blazers have yet to lose back-to-back games and they have a few matchups against the league's best clubs between Christmas and New Year's.

Portland will face the Clippers, Heat and Thunder, all of whom are in the top six of our power rankings, over their next four games.  They will also face the Pelicans during that stretch.

After that, however, they will face several below-mediocre squads to start the year: CHA (13-15), PHI (8-20), SAC (8-18), ORL (8-19), BOS (12-17) and CLE (10-16).  Those six clubs all have losing records and are collectively 46 games under .500.

Although they rank in the bottom third in defense (102.1 points allowed per game), Portland is primarily winning with their offense as they lead the NBA in scoring (108.4 points per game).  They also rank fourth in the league in rebounding (45.9 per game) and fifth in assists (23.5 per game).

Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is currently having the best season of his seven-year career.  Aldridge is averaging 23.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game, all of which are career highs.

In addition to Aldridge, Damian Lillard (21.5 PPG) is also scoring more than 20 points per game.  Both Wesley Matthews (16.3) and Nicolas Batum (14.0) are also scoring in double-digits as well.

Compared to the previous week, the Blazers edged up by just one-quarter point in our Consensus NBA Power Rankings heading into Week 9.

Despite compiling the best record in the NBA up to this point, the Blazers are currently third in our power rankings behind both the Heat and Pacers.  In fact, this is the first week since Week 1 that the Heat are atop our power rankings.

- See our full power rankings here

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