Vegas Over/Under: 42.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 43-39
The Bet: Avoid but lean over
The Western Conference is brutally difficult, along with the Portland Trail Blazers’ previous cap missteps will wind up breaking themas they didn’t have too many paths with which they can boost their roster.
They even had to give up on Allen Crabbe as part of a cost-cutting sequence, trading him to move nearer to avoiding luxury-tax penalties and future interactions with the dreaded repeater tax.
But Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are still in Rip City, plus they will team up with Jusuf Nurkic to keep this squad in playoff contention. Right now, it is hard to oversell just how significant that last part is.
The huge guy, who was obtained in the Denver Nuggets at a midseason trade, broke out in a big way once he found himself in a new environment. He was focused on the defensive end compared previously and flashed some easing flourishes that never showed up at the Mile High City.
Though the Bosnian was on the ground, Portland outscored the opposition by 9.2 points per 100 possessions–far superior than the minus-1.9 internet rating earned .
But is that sustainable? Only time will tell, though competitions have a scouting report on Nurkic this year. Conditioning issues could also pop up as he is tasked with enjoying extensive minutes for the first time.
Especially with little convincing depth on the wings, don’t expect the Blazers to take huge strides forward. Nurkic should assist the star-studded backcourt maintain its playoff-caliber degree, but the group’s ceiling still feels rather capped.
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