Remember about a month ago, when ESPN's John Hollinger and Chad Ford released the future power rankings for the NBA? Yeah, it was fun because Portland was No. 1 on that list. The talent was apparently there and the future was bright.
A month later, not only have things changed in Portland, but Hollinger and Ford have changed their tune. Portland drops down to six on the list with Orlando, the Lakers, Oklahoma City, Miami, and Utah all moving ahead.
Even though these rankings don't matter in the grand scheme of things, it's still pretty amazing to drop five spots in a month when we're talking about the future. Obviously people are down on the Blazers; here's what they had to say:
Portland was the top-ranked team when the season began, but the Blazers' precipitous drop to sixth comes as a result of a sluggish 14-11 start that caused us to re-evaluate their talent base. In retrospect, we may have been overly optimistic the first time around.
Although the Blazers' roster still appears formidable, virtually every player has underperformed expectations or given us reason to doubt him. Most prominently, the season-ending knee injury to Greg Oden requires us to treat the Blazers center as a high risk to miss more time in the future. The struggles of Brandon Roy hurt, too, as they make last season look like a possible outlier. Add in struggles of young core players Martell Webster and Rudy Fernandez, as well as LaMarcus Aldridge's inability to progress beyond his current level, and Portland dropped from first to fifth in the players category -- accounting for the Blazers' decline in the rankings.
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