NBA Preview: State of the West (And Trades)
The final day of games before the All-Star game sees a pretty solidified Western Conference
As opposed to the mind-boggling fluidity of the East, the Western Conference standings look nearly set in stone. It’s technically possible that Sacramento or Portland could catch Denver, but it seems highly unlikely. It’s also possible that the Thunder and Grizzlies could switch places, but this is also unlikely. Beyond that, nearly everything in the standings looks to be pretty permanent.
With only days left before the All-Star Break, here’s how the East looks at this pivotal momentmedium.com
This is why most of the interesting trade rumors are coming out of the Eastern Conference right now. Boston trading for Jimmy Butler? The Raptors trading for Serge Ibaka? These are all Eastern teams. The Clippers trading for Carmelo Anthony is the most interesting potential trade out there for a West team, and this seems more like a fantasy than a legitimate possibility.
The Nuggets’ trade for Mason Plumlee was the most interesting trade deadline story involving a Western team, and that deal has already passed. The Pelicans remain lurking in rumors, but whatever deal they make seems unlikely to change their playoff prospects much. Beyond that, there are few stories on this side of the league to counter the more interesting rumors in the East.
I find looking at the standings around the All-Star break to be interesting. It’s a nice time to evaluate where teams stand at the break, and to see how teams see themselves going into the trade deadline.
4–2 this week so far, after 1–1 last night. On the final day before the All-Star break, there’s one game on TNT.
Boston at Chicago: Boston
This seems like a pretty straightforward pick, given the relative status of each team. Right now, the biggest question around the Celtics is how much they’re going to change things up at the trade deadline. It’s doubtful that tonight will change the team’s directions, but the next time Boston takes the floor we might see a completely different team.