Vegas Over/Under: 42.5
Fromal’s Record Projection: 43-39
The Bet: Prevent but lean over
The Western Conference is brutally hard, along with the Portland Trail Blazers’ preceding cap missteps will wind up breaking themas they did not have too many paths with which they could boost their roster.
They had to give up on Allen Crabbe within a cost-cutting sequence, trading him to move nearer to avoiding 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 maintain this squad in playoff contention. At this time, it is hard to oversell precisely how important that last part is.
The big guy, who had been acquired from the Denver Nuggets at a midseason trade, broke out in a big way after he found himself in a new environment. He had been more focused on the defensive end than before and flashed some facilitating flourishes which never showed up at the Mile High City.
While the Bosnian was on the floor, Portland outscored the opposition by 9.2 points per 100 possessions–far superior than the minus-1.9 net rating earned without him.
But 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 is tasked with enjoying extensive moments for the first time.
Especially with small convincing depth on the wings, don’t expect the Blazers to take massive strides forward. Nurkic should assist the star-studded backcourt keep its playoff-caliber degree, but the team’s ceiling still feels fairly tight.
Read more: conservativewatchnews.org