On its way into the 2021-22 offseason, Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard was transparent, noting that the Blazers currently drafted were not good enough to compete for a championship. During this ultimatum, Blazer general manager Neil Olshey went out and made modest but non-groundbreaking additions to Portland’s roster. When Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports rated the league in his first Power Rankings after the madness of the free agency, he considered Portland the team that took the strongest drop in terms of improvement.
Ward-Henninger opened his article by praising the ambitions of teams like the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, before acknowledging the Blazers’ mistake in appealing Lillard’s much-discussed requests for help. That’s how he rated the Blazers, the No. 20 team in his Power Rankings.
“If Damian Lillard wanted to return from the Olympics in Tokyo to a more competitive team, he is probably not very excited right now. The Blazers may still have a step to take, but for now, bringing Norman Powell back on a $ 90 million deal was the big splash in the offseason – depending on how you feel about Ben McLemore, Cody Zeller and Tony Snell. The Lillard situation will be monitored intensely over the next few months as Portland look no closer to a title than it did at the end of last season. ”
Out of season is still young and the official start date for NBA 2021-22, October 19, remains over two months away. Although the Blazers, as they are currently rated, have been named as the No. 9 ranked team in the Western Conference, mainly the Play-In area. The link to the rest of Ward-Henninger’s locations can be found above.