And-Ones: Bronny, Western Contenders, Top Trade Candidates

LeBron James‘ son Bronny James was a standout performer at this month’s Hoophall Classic, cementing his place as one of the best two-way prospects in high school basketball, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link).

As Givony outlines, the younger James’ strong frame and long wingspan fits the mold of what NBA teams are looking for, and he has continued to make strides as both an offensive and defensive player. Bronny looks like a legitimate five-star recruit and a one-and-done candidate, Givony adds, writing that the youngster will receive “strong consideration” for a spot in the first round of ESPN’s upcoming 2024 mock draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A team that finishes outside of the top three in the Western Conference during the regular season hasn’t made the NBA Finals since 1995, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that the long track record of success for top-three seeds indicates we could be headed for a new conference winner this season. The Nuggets and Grizzlies currently hold the top two spots in the West by a comfortable margin, with the Kings and Pelicans tied for third.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner, Hawks forward John Collins, and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic top The Athletic’s trade deadline big board, which ranks players based on several factors, including the likelihood that they’ll be dealt and the impact they could have for a new team.
  • In Bobby Marks’ Western Conference trade deadline preview at ESPN (Insider link), the Spurs and Suns get scores of 10 on the “trade meter,” meaning they’re the teams most likely to make deals on or before February 9. The Nuggets (with a score of 3) and Grizzlies (4) are on the other end of the spectrum and have far less urgency to make a move.
  • Kelly Iko, Eric Nehm, and Doug Haller of The Athletic take a shot at constructing a three-team trade involving the Suns, Bucks, and Rockets that sends Jae Crowder to Milwaukee and Eric Gordon to Phoenix and would be acceptable for all sides. One proposed structure discussed by the three reporters has Kenyon Martin Jr. joining Crowder en route to Milwaukee, Grayson Allen headed to Phoenix along with Gordon, and the Rockets getting several pieces, including MarJon Beauchamp from the Bucks and a first-round pick from the Suns.
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