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Despite Jusuf Nurkic, The Ringer Doesn’t Like the Trail Blazers’ Chances

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Portland added a center and is supposedly on the upswing. One national publication isn’t convinced.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the odds-makers in Las Vegas set the Portland Trail Blazers over/under total for 2017-18 at 42.5. Many Blazers fans claimed they’d hop on the “over”, convinced the number was too low for a team featuring Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum at guard, now sporting center Jusuf Nurkic in the middle. Today a national publication went the opposite way as Haley O'Shaughnessy at The Ringer named Portland as one of three teams to bet the “under” on.

O'Shaughnessy explains:

Having Jusuf Nurkic for the entire season and not just the 20 games he played last year after being traded in February will make a difference for Portland. But the Blazers scraped out 41 wins last year, and with no major offseason acquisitions, they are not equipped to beat that figure this season in a ramped-up Western Conference. The teams Portland squeezed past to claim the eighth seed are better this year, and won’t give up those late-season losses so easily.

The Sixers (42.5) and Golden State Warriors (67.5) were The Ringer’s other recommendations for betting low on expectations.

Agree or disagree? Has the conference passed Portland to the point that .500 is the best they can hope for despite the added ammo?