Should the Sixers Trade Up from #3?

My apologies on the delay. Between work and having my daughter, it has been hard to get a comprehensive post down. I will likely get back into the swing soon, but I wanted to follow up with some quick thoughts on the rumor circulating that the Sixers are considering trading with the Cavs to get the number 1 pick.

Check out the full post, and other articles on the Sixers, here:

Chad Ford of got the ball rolling on the report, suggesting that the Sixers have reached out to the Cavs to gauge their interest in a deal. Ford reports that the Sixers are not willing to give up the #10 pick to move up two spots, but would consider including Thaddeus Young in the deal.

If the Sixers are convinced that Wiggins is the franchise caliber player in this draft, then I fully support this move. Especially if they can do so without sacrificing their #10 pick. According to the reports, Thaddeus Young is as good as gone after next year. Moving him to remove luck from the equation, at least as it relates to landing Wiggins, is a no brainer. They would guarantee themselves the player they want, and still have the opportunity of getting a meaningful contributor at #10 (assuming they don't package some of their second round picks to move up a few spots).

But what if the Cavs balk, and demand the third and tenth picks? A number of people, especially in the analytic community, think that the Sixers should not package valuable assets for one pick. This derives from the belief that it is better to accumulate assets and minimize risk. In other words, having two picks instead of one safeguards against that one player being a bust. I disagree, to an extent. While I think it is important to never overpay, I do favor capitalizing on those assets in a judicious manner when the opportunity presents itself.

I have some reservations about Wiggins -- as I have stated before, he reminds me of a more athletic version of Harrison Barnes -- but I think that is his absolute floor. I think his ceiling is much higher, and he has the chance to turn out to be special. So it makes sense to me to use some of these assets to make the move.

But enough of my "opinion." More importantly, do the numbers support such a move?

Nate Silver over at did a statistical analysis of expected wins produced by first round picks from 1985 until 2014. Below is the chart which projects the average wins over the first five seasons of the player's career.


The first overall pick, on average, has produced 34 wins over his first five NBA seasons. Interestingly, the third pick has produced a higher win total than the second pick, coming in at approximately 26 wins versus 22. Comparatively, the 10th pick has produced approximately 18.

While your team should expect 10 more wins over a 5 year span by taking the 3rd and 10th picks instead of the 1st pick, that operates under the assumption that you cannot replace the 10th pick with a free agent or future lottery pick. Considering that the Sixers are at least two years away from seriously considering the playoffs, the odds are in favor of them finding such player.

Then again, this is a deep draft. So the potential for the #10 pick to exceed the 18 projected wins is legitimate. It would also remove the potential to move up from 10 (using the second rounders) to land a player between picks 6-9 that the Sixers covet (cough, Aaron Gordon, cough).

In the end, it depends on a number of factors. Are the Sixers convinced that Wiggins is the prospect above all else? Will the Cavs take a 3rd pick + Young for the top pick? Will a prospect be available at 10 that the Sixers want? The answer likely will not come until draft night. And while I like the move if it involves trading Young more than trading the #10 pick, I trust Hinkie to make the right call. And so should you.

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