The Missing Piece: Gauging the Value of our First Rounder

By:
Published: December 22, 2012
Missing Piece Four

The New Orleans Hornets currently have  a record of 5-21 and if the NBA lottery were to be held tonight, they would have a 15.6% chance at the #1 overall pick and a 47% shot at a top three pick. But what is a pick like that worth just a third of the way through the season? If Dell Demps and company have done their due diligence and don’t love this upcoming draft or if they just hate the idea of adding another 19 or 20 year old to the youngest team in the NBA, then perhaps they look to move the pick now for a young veteran that can help them expodite this rebuilding process.

To try and figure out what kind of value such a pick would have on the trade market, we can look back to deals in the last few seasons that were somewhat similar. The first one that comes to mind for most people would be the Nets deal for Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline last season. The Nets were sitting at 15-29 at the time, with the sixth worst record in the league when they made the move. Wallace was four months shy of his 30th birthday at the time, on the last year of his deal (declined P.O. for following year), and was having his worst season in six years at the time the Nets traded for him. His numbers were solid  but not spectacular, as he posted a PER of 15.9 and put up 13.3 points with 6.6 rebounds that year in Portland. When all was said and done, the Nets got a solid starter who helped them keep Deron Williams, which in turn has helped them become a likely playoff team this year, while the Blazers got Damian Lillard with the pick. Practicaly the definition of a win-win.

Going back a little further, the Nets traded a sure fire lottery pick just a year earlier in a deal that landed them superstar Deron Williams. They gave up a young stud in Derrick Favors, along with a pick that at the time was slated for top three, a starting point guard in Devin Harris, and another future 1st rounder (from GS) for a guy who was arguably a top-10 NBA player. The Nets pick turned out to be #3 that year and with it the Jazz took Enes Kanter. The second first-rounder will likely go to Utah this year, as it is top six protected and Golden State is playing good basketball.

The final trade we can look at is Toronto’s offseason swap of its first rounder for Kyle Lowry. The pick is top three protected and would only go to Houston if it was in the lottery, ensuring that the Rockets would get a pick between 4 and 14. The pick has since been traded to OKC as a major piece of the package that landed James Harden.With regard to the type of player that the pick secured, Lowry was coming off a season where he average 14.3 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds in just over 32 minutes per game. He was 26 at the time of the trade and had a fantastic contract, with two years and just under $12 million left on the deal.

So now that we have some recent examples of what a sure-fire lottery pick could fetch, let’s take a look at some guys around the league if they decide to sell their pick before the trade deadline.

Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors

How ironic would this be after Toronto just gave their pick up for him a couple of months ago? The fact is, however, that the Raptors are a .500 team when Jose Calderon starts and their head coach Dwayne Casey has flat out said that he won’t commit to either guy as his starter right now. The Raptors could look to move Lowry, especially if they can get a couple of pieces at positions that can help them win now.

The Dealhttp://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d4vmx7m (Cavs get Hornets pick)

The Raptors get a great backup PG in Vasquez and perhaps the best center in the Eastern Conference right now in Anderson Varejao while the Cavs get a guy in Ed Davis who has taken off recently plus a potential top three pick from the Hornets for a 30 year old center who likely won’t be around when this young team finally develops into a contender. Plus, they get to become even worse, which means that their own pick could land at #1. Potential for two top five picks this year to add to their young core. Meanwhile the Hornets upgrade from Vasquez to Lowry, improving their perimeter defense immensely while still having nearly $15 million in the offseason to go after a small forward this summer.

Eric Bledsoe, PG, Los Angeles Clippers

Bledsoe might be the most sought after commodity on the market right now, as teams see a 23-year old point guard oozing with potential on both ends of the court. Bledsoe is currently #2 in PER among point guards and he ranks first in the entire league in steal percentage. Combine that with the fact that he is only in year three of a five year rookie scale contract, and you can see why it is going to take quite a haul to land him.

The Dealhttp://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=cef6k3t (Magic get right to swap 1sts w/Hornets)

In this trade, the Hornets give the Magic the right to swap first rounders in 2013. If the Magic actually finish with a better pick and do not swap, they get the Hornets pick in 2014. This deal gets the Clippers a guard to replace Bledsoe, along with two guys playing the best basketball of their career to back up Blake and DeAndre Jordan. Meanwhile, the Magic add more picks to aid in their rebuild. The Hornets meanwhile, solidify their backcourt and would go into free agency with almost 19 million dollars to spend on a small forward and a 4th big.

Luol Deng, SF, Chicago Bulls

Deng has struggled a bit this season as he has been forced to be the primary scoring option now that Derrick Rose is out. But as a secondary scorer, Deng is fantastic and his leadership and defense are elite. Pairing Deng with Gordon would give the Hornets the best defensive wing duo in the league and his mid-range game would allow for a fantastic kick out option when you put Gordon in the pick and roll and have Davis rim run while Anderson spots up for three.

The Dealhttp://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=cvnhkcg (Portland gets Hornets pick)

The Blazers are in the middle of a youth movement, so they swap Aldridge for Taj Gibson, pick up a young center in Lopez to tutor Meyers Leonard, and get the Hornets pick, which could put another big talent next to Lillard. The Bulls, meanwhile, get Derrick Rose an All-Star in his prime to try to compete with Miami and New York. And if they amnesty Boozer this summer, they could have some money to add to an amazing core of Rose, Aldridge, and Noah. Meanwhile, the Hornets add an All-Star small forward who is only 27 and is an elite perimeter defender without giving up anyone from their current core. In this scenario, they would still have a little over 8 million under the cap plus some exceptions next summer to spend on a backup big and a third guard.

Chandler Parsons, SF, Houston Rockets/Thaddeus Young, F, Philadelphia 76ers

Chandler Parsons is a do-it-all kind of player that fills the stat sheet and would give Monty a lot of versitility on the wings. He can hit from deep, rebound at an above average level for his position, and create for others. Thaddeus Young, meanwhile, is an extremely talented combo forward who is somewhat misused in Philadelphia. He offers similar rebounding to Aminu, but his on-ball and rotation defense is fantastic and his offense has improved every year he has been in the league. One or both of these guys would drastically improve the Hornets perimeter offense and defense.

The Dealhttp://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=c9jf3jm  (Houston gets Hornets pick, Philly gets Houston’s pick)

The Rockets have been in love with Bynum for years, and if they believe that they can re-sign him, they make this deal to set up a tremendous core for the long run. Meanwhile, the 76ers sell on Bynum rather than risk getting nothing for him and they give the difficult decision of whether or not to give him max money to the Rockets. Their GM Daryl Morey is not afraid to take a big risk if he loves a player, so it works out perfectly. Meanwhile, Philly gets two centers who can help them now, along with a mid-first rounder. The Hornets solidify the three and four position with this move, as Parsons and Young can split the minutes at three, while Young also gets minutes at 4, giving the backup five minutes to Jason Smith and the steadily improving Greg Smith. And since Parsons contract is so great, the Hornets would still have over 11 million in cap space next summer to add depth to what would be an already solid roster.

 The Missing Piece is a weekly feature that you can find every Saturday, only on Hornets247.com. For past installments, click here.

38 comments
Brandon
Brandon

I wouldn't trade a top 5 pick for any of the above mentioned players. The hornets could miss out on a guy like shebazz. None of these players will turn this team into a contender like shebazz could in a few years.

J
J

THe 2013 draft is the waekest draft in years I like Cody Zeller poormans Ric Smits and Alex Len poormans Shawn Bradliey

J
J

Them HornAints are going to finsh 32-50 or if theres a mid season trade and a healthy Gordon 40-42

mojart
mojart

if we can put a trade that will send us cousins....i know the guy is a headcase right now but if he we can have some personnel here that can make the guy right (monty hoping) this guy is a beast.

504ever
504ever

I don't like giving 3 starters for 1, and I count the pick as a starter. So the deal for Bledsoe is out for me. I still question the value of trading the pick now, versus playing the season out, making other in season trades and trading the pick later (if neccessary) with certainity about who it will be.

Cris
Cris

I think Kyle Lowry is probably the most realistic option given that Toronto dont really know what they are doing with the PG position. I see Eric Bledsoe as abit of an insurance policy for the Clips should CP decide to go elsewhere next summer, its probably not likely but I think the Clips may want to have CP wrapped up before trading Bledsoe. Chicago would feel they are still in their championship window, Luol Deng is an important part of that and I dont see him going anywhere.

mateor
mateor

Patience...we have Anderson and cap room to spend on vets. Keep the picks. Patience. Whenever teams rush rebuilds I think they regret it. If you are building off of tyreke Evans and Jimmer, you are going to struggle, pure and simple.

Ken
Ken

OKC never went for the quick fix and was patient and it paid off. So there is an argument for using the pick. No way would I trade for Lowry. He never led Houston to the playoffs as the starting point guard and he would be too old. Parsons and Young are good players but are they really going to make the Hornets an elite team? The elite teams tend to have two stars. Since Gordon at this point is unpredictable, I think we should use the pick since it is likely to be top five and try to obtain another star.

JayDogon
JayDogon

Yeah, I feel like the draft pick would be overrated on this team because we need either another "young vet" or just a veteran who can actually be a starter/solid contributor. Remember the Wizards looked like they could be a team on the rise with a lot of young talents with potential like Wall, Blatche, Mcgee, and Nick Young but it never materialized because they were all feeding off each other's goofiness and it became an inmates running the asylum kinda deal. I like all of them but I think I'd do either the Deng or Lowry deal. It's hard to choose between those 2. I'll say Lowry because I think the SF free agent market will be better than the PG market will.

Snow
Snow

I wish we could pull off both the Young/Parsons and Bledsoe trades! That would help us out so much. Young is definitely underrated. I'm a big fan of his

Mike P
Mike P

I like every single one of these trades. I don't want to become the Sacramento Kings. Bring in another vet who can play. It's so hard to look at some of the athletes in this draft and say that, but I don't think we need more young guys. In regards to Lopez, who is involved in many of these trades.. I believe Jeff Withey, who is currently 25 and 30 on the NBA Draft sites I use, would be a nice long-term backup center. More athletic than Lopez, and an awesome shot-blocker. Would be nice if we could find a way to grab him, but you don't break the bank for a backup, so just a thought

jar
jar

I don't like the fact we would be giving up our first round pick unless we get a really good player back in return.

Mickey Chatman
Mickey Chatman

Love the trade for parsons. I can see next season a lineup for the swamp dogs Rivers Gordon Parsons Anderson Davis

gutta
gutta

Eric Bledsoe was supposed to be in the cp3 deal but he was injured at the time. You can't trade injured players. I think we need an elite pg. Vasquez does not keep to the plays. He slows down the fastbreak. He has a hard time getting Anthony Davis involved.

Snow
Snow

I have a question, if we do end up trading for lets say Bledsoe and get rid of Lopez, do you think we'll pick up another center via Free Agency, by trading, or just have Smith/Davis playing C?

Ben
Ben

I'm starting to really want Bledsoe. These are the playoff odds http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds. It gives the Bucks a 74% chance at making the playoffs (yes there are problems as it gives the Clippers almost a 3x better chance at winning the title than the Heat). The Bucks are looking at a 7 or 8 seed and if they can win 2 games in that series, Jennings will probably stay. And plus we could probably resign Bledsoe for under 8 million whereas we'd have to pay Jennings over 10.