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Update On Protected First-Round Picks

12 teams have traded their first-round picks in the 2012 draft, but not all of those picks will end up changing hands. 11 of the 12 traded picks are protected to some degree, meaning the draft-pick debt will be deferred if certain conditions are met. Coming into the season, only the Timberwolves' first-rounder was a lock to be moved — it was unprotected and will be sent to the Hornets, via the Clippers' Chris Paul trade.

With an assist from Hoops Rumors' tentative 2012 draft order, let's run through the other 11 first-round picks that could be on the move, and check in on the likelihood that they'll actually change hands in this year's draft….

  • Bobcats (to Bulls, top-14 protected): Charlotte will keep this pick, having been eliminated from playoff contention long, long ago.
  • Kings (to Cavs, top-14 protected): Like the Bobcats, the Kings have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, so Sacramento will hold onto its pick for this year.
  • Nets (to Blazers, top-3 protected): New Jersey is currently the league's seventh-worst team, so there's still hope here for the Nets — as it stands now, they'd have a 15% chance of jumping into the top three via the draft lottery. They could also greatly increase those chances by slipping two or three more spots in the NBA standings over the next couple weeks.
  • Warriors (to Jazz, top-7 protected): With the league's ninth-worst record, Golden State's chances of retaining this pick look slim. The Warriors would only have a 6.1% shot at the top seven if the season ended today. They're two games ahead of the seventh-worst Nets, so if they could sink below New Jersey in the standings, their top-seven odds would soar to nearly 75%.
  • Jazz (to Timberwolves, top-14 protected): John Hollinger's playoff odds over at put Utah's chances for a postseason berth at 34.7%. If the Jazz make the playoffs, they'll give up this pick, so if you trust Hollinger's formula, the team currently has a 65.3% chance of keeping its first-rounder.
  • Knicks (to Rockets, top-5 protected): Barring a collapse by New York, this pick will be Houston's. If the Knicks fall out of the postseason, they'll have a very slim chance to jump into the top three and keep the pick.
  • Mavericks (to Rockets, top-20 protected): Trading a first-round pick for Lamar Odom didn't exactly work out like Dallas hoped, but that pick may not be going anywhere this season. The Mavs are currently tied for 17th overall in the draft order. If they don't finish the season strong, they'll keep their first-rounder, which the Lakers flipped to Houston in the Derek Fisher deal.
  • Rockets (to Nets, top-14 protected): A Rockets' playoff berth will ensure the Nets receive this pick. And right now, Hollinger's playoff odds gives Houston a 90.4% chance at the postseason.
  • Clippers (to Celtics, top-10 protected): The Clips hold a four-game lead on the West's ninth-place team (Phoenix), so this pick is almost certainly heading to Boston.
  • Lakers (to Cavs, top-14 protected): A lock to go to Cleveland, it currently projects as 26th overall.
  • Spurs (to Warriors, top-14 protected): A lock to go to Golden State, this will likely be a bottom-five pick in the first round.
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7 thoughts on “Update On Protected First-Round Picks

  1. rxbrgr

    I think you mean Knicks to Rockets pick will be theirs by jumping into the top five, not top three (it’s top five protected according to your first line)…

    • HoopsRumors

      The pick is top-five protected, but if they were to jump up in the draft order, the Knicks would only have a shot at a top-three pick, not the fourth or fifth. Sorry for the confusion there.

      — Luke

      • rxbrgr

        Oh yeah, you’re right of course. I absolutely forgot about that cool little quirk in the lottery system.

  2. Eric Kosmack

    What is the status of the bobcats to chicago pick for 2013 draft? if its unprotected the bulls will get another big time player in a deep draft

    • HoopsRumors

      Unfortunately for the Bulls, that pick isn’t unprotected until 2016. Its protection decreases by two spots each year until then (top-12 protected in ’13, top-10 protected in ’14, etc.)

      — Luke

  3. Johnatbat

    I think the Cavs get the Heat pick this year.

    • HoopsRumors

      Cleveland gets Miami’s pick next year. This year, the Cavs have the option to swap their own first-rounder with the Heat’s, which they obviously won’t want to do.

      — Luke

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