2021’s Most Valuable Traded Second-Round Picks

Fans of lottery-bound NBA teams will be keeping a close on the league’s reverse standings down the stretch because of the effect they’ll have on the draft order and lottery odds for the 2021 first round.

However, it’s not just the first round of the draft that’s worth keeping an eye on. Those reverse standings will also dictate the order of the draft’s second round, and an early second-round pick can be nearly as valuable as a first-rounder.

Traded first-round selections will ultimately be more valuable than any second-rounder, but it’s still worth taking a closer look at some traded 2021 second-rounders that project to be quality picks.

[RELATED: Traded Second-Round Picks For 2021 NBA Draft]

Here are a few of those traded picks:

From: Minnesota Timberwolves
To: Oklahoma City Thunder or Golden State Warriors
Current projection: No. 31

The top-three protected first-round pick the Timberwolves sent to the Warriors in last February’s D’Angelo Russell trade rightly gets most of the attention, but it’s worth remembering that Minnesota also included its 2021 second-rounder in that deal.

It’s not a lock that Golden State will receive that pick, however. If the Warriors’ 2021 first-round selection lands in the top 20 (it projects to be No. 13 for now), they’ll keep that pick and instead send the Wolves’ second-rounder to the Thunder as part of last November’s Kelly Oubre trade agreement.

From: Houston Rockets
To: Milwaukee Bucks
Current projection: No. 32

As part of last month’s P.J. Tucker trade, the Rockets gained the right to swap their own 2021 second-round pick for Milwaukee’s 2021 first-rounder. Currently, Houston’s pick projects to be No. 32, while Milwaukee’s would be No. 26.

If the Bucks keep winning and the Rockets keep losing, Milwaukee might end up not having to move down very far at all on draft day. If the Rockets get hot or the Bucks slump though, the difference between the two picks could be 10 spots or so.

From: Detroit Pistons
To: New York Knicks
Current projection: No. 33

The Pistons originally gave up this pick (and their 2023 second-rounder) on draft day in 2018 in order to acquire the draft rights to Khyri Thomas, the 38th overall pick, from Philadelphia.

Thomas is no longer a Piston and this second-rounder has since been flipped multiple times. The Sixers included it in the package they sent to the Clippers for Tobias Harris in 2019, then the Knicks acquired it as part of their return for Marcus Morris at the 2020 deadline.

From: Washington Wizards
To: New Orleans Pelicans
Current projection: No. 35

From: Cleveland Cavaliers
To: New Orleans Pelicans
Current projection: No. 36

The Wizards’ second-rounder was originally traded to Utah during the 2016 offseason for Trey Burke. The Cavaliers acquired it from the Jazz in a 2018 swap involving Korver and Alec Burks, then flipped it to Milwaukee along with George Hill in a three-team trade just one week later. Two months after that, it was one of four future second-round selections the Bucks sent to New Orleans in a deal for Nikola Mirotic.

As for the Cavaliers’ pick, it was first traded first to the Hawks in 2017 for Kyle Korver, then to New Orleans during the 2019 draft when Atlanta moved up for De’Andre Hunter. It was initially meant to be a 2019 first-rounder, but since it landed within its protected range (top 10) for multiple years, it eventually turned instead into a pair of second-rounders, including Cleveland’s 2021 pick.

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