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Portland made the playoffs because Jusuf Nurkic decided he was a real NBA big man, (and played that way) and because Terry Stotts recognized how to use him effectively as quickly as he did. The Blazers might not improve their record in 2017–18, but I don’t see how he’s on a hot seat until the team can add another piece. So far Paul Allen has exhibited that much patience.

The Western Conference is a minefield again, with a transcendent team at the top. I’m hoping the Blazers figure out how to play defense cohesively and consistently, even if they miss the playoffs this season. Who knows what the 10th-14th picks might be worth in the 2018 draft?

And who knows, Swanigan might be a fit faster than most expected, in which case, if they stay healthy they could sneak in as a 6–8 seed