2014 NBA Draft Trade Series: Should the Sixers Trade Up from #10?

Graham Denholm

"It depends" is a total cop out. Still, it's usually the right answer. Here, a missive on the reasons for asset collection, the obstacles of moving up, and a hypothetical where moving up becomes a very enticing option.

Moving up from 10 hasn't been the most popular thing to do. The insistence that the 76ers could still have a top-ranked player fall to them, along with the general idea that trading extra things is bad, have somewhat quelled this talk. But drafting Gary Harris in the LB mock draft may have some people reconsider, as people were obviously hoping for more. It's a real possibility, and one that should be considered under the right circumstances, but only then.

Trading up goes somewhat against what the Sixers have done in the past year/ The Sixers adopted an asset collection philosophy once Sam Hinkie was announced as the president and general manager of the team. Every deal made since has centered on the assets the Sixers would receive in return for any player traded away.

Jrue Holiday netted the 6th overall pick in his draft and another draft pick (this one here, even). All the trade deadline deals for players the Sixers decided to trade were aimed at collecting draft picks. So was the Royce White thing that happened. And Byron Mullens and Eric Maynor. All were aimed at giving the Sixers enough chips to take gambles, and here might be an opportunity to come over the top.

Seemingly every year, a top prospect falls further down in the draft than expected, saddled by either a lack of fit or curious decision-making. Usually a smart team will take advantage. For instance, when the Wizards selected Jan Vesely at number 6 a few years back, it set off a chain of events that resulted in the highly touted Kawhi Leonard falling all the way to 15. The Spurs then traded George Hill to the Pacers for the pick and swiped him for cheap.

These things will happen every year. Predicting who will fall is a tougher exercise, but it will be some highly regarded prospect. And at 10, the Sixers are in prime position to take advantage of that, whether that be through sitting on the pick or, as the topic of this article asks, through moving up.

The Sixers have 7 draft picks this year. Phil Jackson might be an idiot when it comes to his job responsibilities, but he's not wrong that the Sixers will move at least one of their second rounders. As unsavory as it sounds, especially after a season with flirting with the salary floor, the Sixers could feasibly move a pick for cash. But more importantly, Hinkie can move picks to ensure he gets his targeted players.

Now, the problems with this aren't the assets the Sixers have (which they have a lot). It takes a good amount to move up in the top 10, but we have that covered. 5 second rounders, yo. The problems lie in that the teams directly ahead of the Sixers - Charlotte and Sacramento - are trying to shed their picks for veterans. Moving up from 10 to 8 or 9 is much easier when teams are looking for more younger players. But when the trade targets are looking for veterans in return, and a franchise looking to make a deal has traded all but two of them (I haven't forgotten you, Jason Richardson!), then there may not be a trade opportunity.

It's more difficult to dangle more pieces when, in order to move up, the deals are more likely to start at 6 or 7. 10 and 32 won't be enough to move up those 3 spots, and Thaddeus Young holds little value to either team. The trades are more costly and have to be analyzed more thoroughly, because trading so many of the hard-earned assets could ultimately be a waste.

Oh, hi there, Andrew Bynum! There still an ATM in every city?

Still, that should not dissuade Hinkie from moving up if he has a target in mind that he wants above all others. Using a hypothetical, let's say Dante Exum slips past the Magic at 4 (they pick Marcus Smart) and Utah (they pick Noah Vonleh). This appears to be unlikely, but not impossible. Boston at 6 has a point guard they're committed to and wants to make a move. They think they can snag Aaron Gordon at 10 and want to pick up some draft picks they could use in a bigger deal.

Meanwhile, Hinkie just adores Exum and almost took him third. In that scenario, getting the desired talent is largely the reason why the team hoarded second round picks in the first place. Moving two or three of them for what you think is a potential franchise player is the point of collecting them in the first place, whether you draft them or use them otherwise! We won't miss those three second round picks if Dante Exum is the NBA's next big thing.

Assets are meant to be cashed in at the right time. Moving up from 10, or really any trade scenario, is just an extension of that philosophy.

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