The lack of separation in the Western Conference standings has further clouded the trade deadline outlook with the February 9 less than two weeks away, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic.
As Hollinger outlines, it seems safe to assume that the Nuggets and Grizzlies are contenders and the Spurs and Rockets are lottery teams, but beyond that, there has been little clarity through the first 50 or so games — the other 11 teams in the conference all have between 23 and 27 wins.
One reason that most in-season trades don’t happen until the week before the trade deadline, Hollinger observes, is because teams want as much information as possible about where they stand relative to the competition, but there’s not much time left for teams to glean that information. Plus, several Western clubs – including the Pelicans, Timberwolves, and Lakers – haven’t had their stars healthy together for long enough this season to have a good sense of how all their pieces fit together.
As we wait to see how a crowded Western Conference playoff race affects the trade market, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report takes a closer look at the trade market for big men, considering which players might be available, which teams would have interest, and what it might cost to acquire them.
- Within the latest edition of HoopsHype’s aggregate 2023 mock draft – which compiles predictions from nine different experts’ mocks – Michael Scotto of HoopsHype passes along some insights from NBA evaluators on several of this year’s top prospects, including one executive who compared Alabama wing Brandon Miller to Paul George. Another executive told Scotto he likes Miller more than Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson due to his shooting ability.
- Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic spoke to 17-year NBA veteran Mike Miller about his post-retirement transition from player to agent and how he’s been able to build up a strong roster of clients, including No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero. “Other agencies might know a lot about basketball, but to live it and to understand it — and I think at the end of the day, again, nothing against them, but me talking and projecting out a player or comping a player or doing those things as far as what it looks like for a player paints a little bit of a different picture,” Miller said.
8 thoughts on “And-Ones: Western Playoff Race, Trade Market, 2023 Draft, Miller”
Jazz have a solid core in Lauri, Kessler, and Agbaji. I think they can make sonething out of Sexton too. His speed and strength pops out everytime. Just needs to develop the mental aspects of his game.
Conley and Olynyk imo should be kept if theyd only net seconds. Jazz have lots of picks in the pipeline and these two give irreplaceable dynamics to the team. They might agree to be eventually eased out to bench roles in 2024 if they like the trajectory of the team.
Clarkson is cool. If he loves Utah then might as well hold on.
I love Vando but theyd prolly move him if they get great value.
I think Beasley gets traded this Feb
Due to friendship, Vandervilt will be traded to Celtics for a protected First and salary.
Celticvs owner will need to call Danny Ainge
2-year $9 million contract remaining
Teams that should sell or retool in the West imo (aside from the obvious like the Rockets):
Timberwolves: Rusell needs to go, point blank, and they have a number of good roleplayers who could get them some overpays for needy teams. This season has been a disaster for the Wolves, and even when KAT comes back, I don’t see that changing. They’ve played better lately, but not well enough, and in the next two weeks their schedule is tough. I don’t see them pulling any rabbits out of a hat.
Mavs: Luka is great, Christian Wood is an ideal complement for him, and everybody else save for Dinwiddie and THJ are borderline nonfactors. They need a better base if they want to chase championships, and to get a true SF or SG to complement Luka. Not a full rebuild around their two best, but definitely a retool.
Blazers: Dame, Simons, and Grant are a worthwhile core, but outside of Nurkic, they’re lacking in true complementary players. Hart is nice, but he’s better for them as a trade asset. I would see what you can get for Nurk, Hart, and guys like Eubanks, Winslow, and Nassir Little, and try to get a true defensive stopper in the paint. Their offense is great, but they have no foundation. And they won’t have the space to add a truly great big in FA.
Jazz: Trading their veteran leaders is going to hurt in the short term, but they’ll be better off next year and have space to build. Trading Olynyk, Conley, and Malik Beasley should all be on the table. Giving guys like Agbaji, THT, Sexton, Vanderbilt, and Kessler more time and space to work can only help them in the near term. Only trade Markkanen if you think you can get an immediate superstar in return.
The Thunder, Pels, and Clippers don’t really have any guys they have to trade right now. And the Clipps should be focused on adding, even if they tend to play like crap if Paul or Leonard misses time. Conversely, the Lakers, Warriors, and Suns don’t really have much room to maneuver outside of one or two obvious moves; it’s just a matter of what they can get for said deals.
I’m really skeptical of the Blazers because of their backcourt. It’s like they learned nothing from McCollum and Lillard not working out. They replaced one small defensively lacking backcourt for another.
I mean. The Cavs (and formerly the Jazz) have proven you can still win a lot of games despite a weak defensive backcourt, you just have to have a defensive anchor and not over-rely on said anchor.
Both Mitchell and Garland have both improved defensively this season, heck I’d say they’re basically playing average defense. Mitchell is +0.8 in DBPM and +0.3 in DEPM. Garland is -0.6 in DBPM(Which looks bad but it is a small improvement for him) and +0.3 in DEPM.
Heck even in Utah Mitchell and Clarkson were poor defenders but Ingles and Conley were both very good. It was pretty rare to see Clarkson and Mitchell on the court at the same time though. They were almost flanked with Conley or Ingles.
But Conley and Garland are great passers and true “points”, ie they manage the game.
Lillard is a step behind being that, not saying he isnt an awesome player.
Simons is not.
It’s really a disservice to Dame if FO would still wait for Simons to develop while Dame is appr his mid 30s