Sizing up 10 traded young players

Why a surprising number of players on rookie-scale contracts were swapped

Updated: February 22, 2013, 2:04 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider
Thomas RobinsonRocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesThomas Robinson should thrive outside of the dysfunctional confines of the Sacramento Kings.

Although the trade deadline came and went without a signature blockbuster deal, there was still plenty of activity, as 25 players changed addresses. However, 14 of those 25 players, or 56 percent, have four or fewer years of experience. These young players are the guys teams want in return for their tradable assets, and they are the new currency of the NBA trade landscape, where the new, punitive CBA creates added value for talent on artificially low contracts.

Another noteworthy occurrence: Not a single future first-round draft choice exchanged hands. The 2013 trade deadline marked the beginning of a new era, one in which teams are looking to maximize value on their rosters and as such are reluctant to throw in draft picks as freely as they have in the past. The new market for intelligence in the NBA will be the evaluation and acquisition of other teams' young players.

Here's a scouting perspective on the young players traded Thursday:

1. Thomas Robinson | Trade: SAC to HOU | Contract: first year
Despite being undersized at a shade under 6-foot-9, Robinson combines excellent length (7-3¼ wingspan) and athleticism, which allow him to play bigger than his size. He was a tremendous rebounder on both ends of the floor in college, and that seems to have translated so far in his young NBA career (12.6/21.6 offensive/defensive rebounding rate). He's got the ability to play with his back to the basket or face up his opponent and go around him, and a decent midrange game that can still improve. He's struggled to adjust his game to the size and quickness of NBA opponents, and much of his anemic field goal percentage can be attributed to terrible shot selection. Going to Houston will be good for him as he leaves the dysfunction of Sacramento and learns the post from Kevin McHale.