Would Blazers be better off as sixth seed?

A slide to sixth place and a first-round date with Dallas may be a good thing for Portland.

Updated: April 13, 2003, 7:24 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

ESPN.com users sound off on senior writer Marc Stein's NBA Power Rankings from April 6. Stein's comments to some of the best responses are also included.

(Friendly reminder: Tuesday's Power Rankings will be the last of the season, meaning there's also only one more dose of Rank Comments to go. It's your last chance to complain about our undying love for the Lakers and how the Pistons never get no love until October.)

Scottie Pippen
The Blazers' hopes in the playoffs figure to hinge on Scottie Pippen's health.
I am the first Portland fan to say that the team is a disgrace to the city and to the sport. The team's latest follies cannot be defended. But when they are playing the same kind of ball as the Timberwolves -- going 2-2 in the last week --I think it is a bit exorbitant to drop them as far as you did. Besides, if San Antonio and Dallas switch seeds, the Blazers would be much better off with the No. 6 seed.
Jonathan Singer
Claremont, Calif.

STEIN: The Blazers took an "exorbitant" fall last week for the usual reasons, namely trying to sabotage their own season yet again. The fact that Zach Randolph vs. Ruben Patterson was far more serious than your typical practice brawl precipitated a harsher committee response. That said, the committee doesn't disagree with your view of the seedings. The Blazers will get plenty of run as the team most likely to spring a first-round upset if they indeed slip to No. 6 and the matchup with the Mavs materializes, given Dallas' equally disconcerting finish to the season and Portland's history of bullying Dallas around. Committee's far from sold, though, on the mental fortitude of these Blazers. Especially if Scottie Pippen can't play at something resembling full capacity. None of us ever know which Blazers will show up -- Sunday's good Blazers and those Blazers seen in Memphis this week. Committee will be in the minority picking the Mavs in that series, should it happen.


How can the Sonics have more "power" than the Celtics when they're a .500 team that won't make the playoffs? I think your "Irony Alert" went next to the wrong ranking.
Chris Roussin
Boston, Mass.

STEIN: Thanks for an easy one, Chris. Sonics are playing much better than the Celtics and they have been for weeks. That's your answer.


Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford has clicked in the Bulls' backcourt with Jay Williams.
No complaints. I'm just wondering what my Bulls have to do to get out of the Terrible Twenties in these rankings. It's disheartening to look at your low ratings week in and week out, though they undoubtedly deserve it.
Rajiv Devadhason
San Diego, Calif.

STEIN: Your Bulls haven't won a road game since Feb. 18. Getting that elusive fourth road win would be a good start. And if Bill Cartwright had gone to Jay Williams and Jamal Crawford sooner as a tandem -- word is, it was Cartwright who resisted it much more than Jerry Krause -- Chicago might have actually seen the teens by now.


The Timberwolves are sitting pretty, ready to take that fourth seed, and here come the Lakers ready to take the fifth seed. Just our luck.
Bill Chambers
Woodbury, Minn.

STEIN: Didn't we read that very thought somewhere else, Bill? Plus there's worse news: L.A. can still finish fourth and take away your home-court advantage, too.


Can we please have two sets of power rankings? One for the West and another for teams that have no shot at competing for the championship?
Jake Boudre
New Orleans, La.

STEIN: Sorry, Jake. Seeing West teams consistently higher than East teams in the Power Rankings will have to suffice. The East has suffered enough.


Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal
Tim Duncan's Spurs could enter the playoffs as the West's No. 1 seed and the Rankings' No. 1 team.
I wrote before and I'm writing again. The Lakers are sweating the thought of facing the Spurs in the playoffs. Am I to believe that no Spurs fans are writing in? Why are the Spurs fans getting little attention in your Rank Comments column?
Jose Izeta
San Antonio, Texas

STEIN: Just waiting for some insightful Spurs commentary, Jose. Something a little more original than Go Spurs Go, which is pretty much what came in this week.


What's this about a curse?
Josh Kyle
San Antonio, Texas

STEIN: Better, Josh. But let's not forget it took the Spurs four trips to the top spot before finding a way to actually keep the No. 1 spot.


I want the Celtics to be higher in the rankings. Why can't I have what I want?
Rachel
Gatlinburg, Tenn.

STEIN: For obvious reasons. Reason No. 1: You didn't include your last name, as per the rules. And Reason No. 2: You're not Bride Rachel, as our darling niece Madison refers to Mrs. Committee.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, send Stein a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

ALSO SEE