And-Ones: Western Playoff Race, Trade Market, 2023 Draft, Miller

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.
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