Pop quiz. What do the following players have in common? Marc Gasol. Manu Ginobili. Paul Millsap. Monta Ellis. DeAndre Jordan. Lance Stephenson. Luis Scola. Chandler Parsons. Carlos Boozer. Rashard Lewis.
If you guessed "second-round draft picks," you're a sharp NBA observer (or just really attentive to column headlines).
Believe it or not, you can find some serious talent in the second round. There's the reigning Defensive Player of the Year (Gasol), a future Hall of Famer (Ginobili), a collection of All-Stars (Millsap, Ellis, Boozer and Lewis) and key cogs to championship contenders (Jordan, Stephenson, Scola and Parsons). And that's before we get to really solid players like Goran Dragic, Lou Williams, Amir Johnson, Marcin Gortat, Kyle Korver, Nikola Pekovic and Isaiah Thomas. All of that talent was taken in the second round.
This makes Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie a mad genius, right? At Thursday's trade deadline, the first-year GM continued to raze the 76ers' roster, dumping impending free agents Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes in exchange for second-round picks, among other things. All told, Hinkie has accumulated five second-rounders in the 2014 draft and a couple of extras down the road.
Is this a case of a mastermind exploiting a market inefficiency? Are second-rounders really that valuable? What in the name of Dr. J is going on in Philadelphia?
As in most cases, it's complicated.