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Is Portland really that good?

The Trail Blazers are near the top every power ranking. But are they that good? Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

It's never easy to rank NBA teams, a task that our Marc Stein undertakes each week, but the most difficult time for evaluations might be this middle point of November. We're beyond the point where truly fluky outcomes like the Philadelphia 76ers' starting 3-0 are possible, but we're not yet far enough into the season that the standings have truly settled down. The biggest challenge for power rankings this week? The Portland Trail Blazers, who, after holding off the Toronto Raptors in a 118-110 overtime win, improved their record to 8-2 and own the third-best record in the league.

But is Portland really the third-best team in the league? Probably not. But figuring out exactly where to put the Trail Blazers (Stein ranked them seventh in his power rankingsThe Hollinger Rankings have them eighth) is tricky. Here's how statistics can help.