Update On Traded 2015 First-Round Picks

The regular season is down to its final two weeks, and as teams clinch playoff spots and seedings, the draft order is solidifying in much the same way. The final order won’t be set until the NBA’s draft lottery on May 19th, but plenty will be determined by the end of the regular season. That includes the fate of some of the traded first round picks that have protection attached to them.

The Rockets have clinched a playoff berth, which means the Lakers have clinched the rights to Houston’s first-round pick this year. Similarly, it’s already mathematically impossible for the Celtics to receive the first-round picks that could have come their way from the Sixers and Timberwolves, and the Nuggets won’t be getting the Grizzlies’ pick this year.

Likely outcomes are apparent for all but two of the protected first-round picks that were liable to change hands this year, though the Sixers are the would-be beneficiaries of two picks that remain squarely in limbo. The next two weeks will determine whether Oklahoma City’s pick goes to Philadelphia, and the same is true for the Heat’s pick if they make the playoffs. If Miami doesn’t, the lottery will likely decide whether Philly gets that pick.

Our Reverse Standings help you follow the action on a day-by-day basis. The protection attached to each pick that has been traded is outlined at the bottom of the standings. Today, as we’ve done a few times since the start of the season, we’re taking a closer look. The traded first-round picks that involve protection are listed below and categorized by the relative likelihood of the picks going from team to team.


Team: Thunder (42-33)
Pick traded to: Sixers
Protection: Top 18
Current position: tied for 18th

Team: Heat (34-40)
Pick traded to: Sixers
Protection: Top 10
Current position: tied for 15th

Traded picks likely to change hands:

Team: Pelicans (40-34)
Pick traded to: Rockets
Protection: Top 3 and 20-30
Current position: 14th

Traded picks that will change hands:

Team: Rockets (51-24)
Pick traded to: Lakers
Protection: Top 14
Current position: tied for 27th

Traded picks likely to stay put:

Team: Mavericks (46-29)
Pick traded to: Celtics
Protection: Top 3 and 15-30
Current position: 22nd

Team: Kings (26-48)
Pick traded to: Bulls
Protection: Top 10
Current position: 6th

Team: Lakers (20-54)
Pick traded to: Sixers
Protection: Top 5
Current position: 4th

Traded picks that will stay put:

Team: 76ers (18-58)
Pick traded to: Celtics
Protection: Top 14
Current position: 3rd

Team: Timberwolves (16-59)
Pick traded to: Celtics
Protection: Top 12
Current position: 2nd

Team: Grizzlies (51-24)
Pick traded to: Nuggets
Protection: Top 5 and 15-30
Current position: tied for 27th

Additional notes:

  • The Clippers will send their first-round pick to the Celtics regardless of finish, since there’s no protection on the pick. It’s the No. 26 selection as it stands now.
  • The Hawks have the right to swap picks with the Nets, and since Atlanta has already clinched a better record than Brooklyn, the exchange is set to take place. Brooklyn, which is currently tied for the 15th spot in the draft order, is poised to send that pick to Atlanta, which occupies the 29th spot.
  • The Heat’s pick is listed in the tossups category even though there’s a five-spot difference between their position and the protected range because they’re separated from the Hornets, who are in the 10th spot, by only two games. By contrast, the Lakers are likely to keep their top-five protected pick even though they have only the fourth worst record because their 20-54 mark is six games worse than the 26-48 mark that the Kings, current occupants of the No. 6 spot, have compiled.
  • To see what happens to traded picks that aren’t conveyed this year, check out the database of traded picks by round that Mark Porcaro compiled for Hoops Rumors. It runs down the protection on each pick through 2021.

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