Vegas Over/Under: 42.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 43-39
The Bet: Avoid but lean over
The Western Conference is brutally hard, along with the Portland Trail Blazers’ preceding cap missteps will end up breaking themas they didn’t have a lot of routes with which they could boost their roster.
They had to give up on Allen Crabbe within a cost-cutting sequence, trading him to move closer to preventing luxury-tax penalties and potential interactions with the dreaded repeater tax.
However, 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 precisely how significant that last part is.
The huge guy, who was obtained from the Denver Nuggets in a midseason trade, broke out in a big way once he found himself in a new environment. He was more focused on the defensive end compared previously and flashed some easing flourishes that never showed up in the Mile High City.
While the Bosnian was around the ground, Portland outscored the opposition by 9.2 points per 100 possessions–much better than the minus-1.9 internet rating earned without him.
However, is that sustainable? Only time will tell, though competitions have a scouting report on Nurkic this year. Conditioning concerns could also pop up since he’s tasked with enjoying extensive moments for the first time.
Especially with small persuasive depth on the wings, do not expect the Blazers to take huge strides forward. Nurkic should assist the star-studded backcourt maintain its playoff-caliber level, but the group’s ceiling still feels fairly capped.
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