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Golliver Predicts Blazers Finish Fifth in West

Sports Illustrated picks the Trail Blazers to take the fifth spot in the highly competitive Western Conference.

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

As the preseason rolls on, experts continue their predictions for the upcoming regular season.

Zach Lowe was down on the Portland Trail Blazers’ chances, but Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated was much more bullish, picking the team he used to cover to finish fifth in the Western Conference.

The biggest reason given was continuity:

Continuity could prove to be a crucial advantage for Portland, who had the quietest summer of any 2017 West playoff team following a nice post-deadline push. Terry Stotts will continue to lean heavily on scoring guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but the Blazers’ fortunes will be determined by Jusuf Nurkic’s ability to recapture and sustain his X-factor form.

Nurkic has had a strong preseason thus far, with 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in just 23 minutes per game.

Golliver has the Blazers finishing behind Golden State, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.