NBA Power Rankings: Lakers desperate for bold trade deadline move; Streaking Suns

There are a few big jumps in our latest NBA Power Rankings at the midway point of the season.
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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26. Portland Trail Blazers

Heading into the second half of the season, one of the goals for the Portland Trail Blazers has to be centered around Deandre Ayton and Scoot Henderson. Ideally, both of them would turn the corner on their early-season struggles to catapult them into the offseason and ultimately next year. Looking back at the offseason, both Ayton and Scoot were key parts of the Blazers' decision to trade Damian Lillard.

When looking back, the Blazers' are ultimately going to be praised or trashed for the Lillard trade depending on how Ayton and Scoot progress during their tenures with the team. Right now, Ayton is in the midst of the worst season of his career. While it's way too early to consider Scoot a bust, he's gotten off to a bad start to his career.

If Ayton can begin to play a bit better and if Scoot can show a little more promise, the Blazers should be just fine as they head into the offseason. However, if neither of those two things comes to fruition, Portland could enter the summer with some big questions to answer regarding its future.