Traded Second-Round Pick Exchange Scenarios

The effect of the value that some teams place on second-round picks is evident in the number of those selections that have been traded. Eight of the 30 second-round picks in the 2016 draft are promised, without protection, to another team. That’s just the bare minimum among the heavy volume of second-rounders that are liable to change hands this spring, when the draft order is finalized. That doesn’t include any swaps that take place between now and the draft, and surely we’ll see a few now that trade season has begun.

We’ll break down every scenario among the 2016 second-round picks that have already been traded, just as we did earlier with traded 2016 first-round picks. We’ll do so with an assist from our Round-by-Round Traded Picks Register, which Mark Porcaro compiles, and RealGM’s comprehensive database, as well as our Reverse Standings, which are updated daily.

First, here’s a look at the unprotected picks. These exchanges are 100% certain to happen. Note that the Celtics benefit from three of them:

  • Cavaliers to Celtics
  • Heat to Celtics
  • Sixers to Celtics
  • Nuggets to Sixers
  • Warriors to Jazz
  • Wizards to Hawks
  • Knicks to Rockets
  • Spurs to Kings

This next batch involves picks that appear at least somewhat likely or unlikely to change hands. The simple explanation for the likehihood of each pick exchange is in bold, with details to follow:

  • Kings to Thunder (top-55 protected) — Very unlikely to happen: Sacramento almost certainly won’t end up with a top-five record, which would have to happen for this exchange to occur.
  • Hornets to Thunder (bottom-five protected) — Likely to happen: Charlotte has been surprisingly successful this season, but it’s doubtful the Hornets end up with one of the league’s top five records, which is what it would take for the team to keep this pick from going to Oklahoma City.
  • Hornets to Spurs (top-55 protected) — Unlikely to happen: As noted above, a top-five record is a long shot for Charlotte, so this pick appears destined for Oklahoma City, not San Antonio.
  • Trail Blazers to Bulls (Chicago gets the less favorable of its pick and Portland’s pick) — Unlikely to happen: The Bulls are almost certain to end up with a better record than the rebuilding Blazers.
  • Trail Blazers to Magic (Orlando gets the more favorable of Portland’s pick and Chicago’s pick) — Very likely to happen: The Portland pick is going to either Orlando or Chicago, and since it probably won’t be Chicago, as we noted in the bullet above, it’ll likely to go Orlando.
  • Bulls to Magic (Orlando gets the more favorable of Portland’s pick and Chicago’s pick) — Very unlikely to happen: See above.

Many 2016 second-round pick exchange scenarios are too close to call:

  • Mavericks to Celtics (Boston gets the more favorable of Dallas’ pick and Memphis’ pick) — The Mavs and Grizzlies are separated by a half-game, so this one is anybody’s guess.
  • Grizzlies to Mavericks (Dallas gets the less favorable of its own pick and Memphis’ pick) — See above.
  • Grizzlies to Celtics (Boston gets the more favorable of Dallas’ pick and Memphis’ pick) — See above.
  • Celtics to Grizzlies (Memphis gets the less favorable of Boston’s pick and Toronto’s pick) — Oddly, the Celtics and Grizzlies could wind up exchanging picks through two different pick swap scenarios. The Boston-to-Memphis possibility is slightly unlikely as it stands, since the Celtics are two games in back of the Raptors, but that’s not a wide margin.
  • Raptors to Grizzlies (Memphis gets the less favorable of Boston’s pick and Toronto’s pick) — See above.
  • Celtics to Jazz (Utah gets the more favorable of Boston’s pick and Toronto’s pick) — Whichever pick the Grizzlies don’t get in the previous two scenarios, the Jazz will.
  • Raptors to Jazz (Utah gets the more favorable of Boston’s pick and Toronto’s pick) — See above.
  • Clippers to Nets (L.A. can swap its pick for Brooklyn’s as long as L.A.’s pick isn’t in the bottom five) — The Clips don’t have a top-five record at this point, but they’re close, and if they’re one of the league’s top five teams at the end of the season, this pick swap won’t happen. Otherwise it surely will, since the Nets are almost certain to finish with an inferior record.
  • Nets to Clippers (L.A. can swap its pick for Brooklyn’s as long as L.A.’s pick isn’t in the bottom five) — See above.
  • Clippers to Cavaliers (top-55 protected) — For the same reason the Nets/Clippers pick swap is uncertain, this one is tough to predict. It all hinges on whether the Clippers finish with a top-five record.
  • Rockets to Timberwolves (top-45 protected) — It seemed at the start of the season that this one would definitely wind up in Minnesota, but with the way the Rockets have struggled this season, we can’t be so sure.
  • Heat to Magic (top-55 protected) — The Heat are a quality team and playing well, but whether they’ll finish with a top-five record is a matter of debate. They’re tied for the sixth-best record, just a half-game out of fifth as it stands.
  • Kings to Bucks (Milwaukee gets the more favorable of Sacramento’s pick and New Orleans’ pick, as long as Sacramento’s pick isn’t in the bottom five) — We can toss out the possibility of the Kings finishing with a top-five record, but the Pelicans have been perhaps the most disappointing team in the NBA thus far, and it’s no longer a safe bet they’ll end up with a better record than the Kings.
  • Pelicans to Bucks (Milwaukee gets the more favorable of Sacramento’s pick and New Orleans’ pick, as long as Sacramento’s pick isn’t in the bottom five) — See above.
  • Kings to Pelicans (New Orleans gets the less favorable of Sacramento’s pick and its own pick, as long as Sacramento’s pick isn’t in the bottom five) — See above.

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