Second Round Picks for Everyone!

HOUSTON receives: K.J. McDaniels, Pablo Prigioni
PHILADELPHIA receives: Isaiah Canaan, Denver’s 2015 Second Round Pick
NEW YORK receives: Alexey Shved, Houston’s 2017 Second Round Pick, Houston’s 2019 Second Round Pick

I’ve been a big fan of K.J. McDaniels. At first, that had little to do with his talents on the basketball court, and a lot to do with his confidence. Instead of signing a four-year contract, McDaniels bet on himself, signed a one-year, $507k deal ($0 guaranteed) and prepared to be a restricted free agent after his rookie year. He turned down over $1m in guaranteed money to become the 387th highest paid player in a 401-player league (via BusinessInsider.com) because he believed in himself. He risked getting cut at any given time and bet on himself. He has 82 games to convince one of the 30 teams in the league that’s he’s worth more than league minimum, and unlike his teammates that took the four-year deals, K.J. McDaniels doesn’t have to wait until 2018 to reap the benefits. And he got off to a monster start to begin the season, shooting over 40% from three, over 50% on 2-pointers, while recording more than 2 stocks/game (steals+blocks) in the months of October and November. While his defensive numbers have remained steady, his offensive numbers have fallen off of a cliff since then (24% from 3-point land and 43% from inside the arc since December 1). He still has the crazy athleticism that pops off the screen every time you see him play, whether he’s blocking a jump shot into the third row, intercepting a pass and starting the fast break, or tossing the ball of the backboard for a self-alley-oop in the midst of a half-court offense. The jump shooting was just icing on the cake for the Daryl Morey as he looked to create a deep wing rotation to help compete in the Western Conference. Plus Houston adds Prigioni to the mix to help mitigate the loss of Isaiah Canaan, all for the expense of three second round picks spread out over the next five drafts. Plus with Luis Scola finally coming off the books next season (amnesty) and Jason Terry unlikely to command $5.8m/year, Houston can afford to match an offer sheet for McDaniels in the off-season (or at the very least, force another team to wildly overpay): A-

K.J. McDaniels was a fan favorite in Philly. The athletic talent he possesses makes every play worth watching because you don’t want to miss what’s going to happen next. Plus in the “Hinkie is God” phase Sixers fans are currently in, with the GM hoarding any and every second round pick, striking gold on one of these is exactly what is needed to keep morale up through the loooonnnng rebuilding process. But Sam Hinkie will not be swayed by fans clamoring for three more months of dunks just so he can be outbid this summer. McDaniels has played very well, but not substantially better than Robert Covington ($1m/year for next four years), JaKarr Sampson (<$1m/year for next four years), Jerami Grant (<$1m/year for next four years), or Hollis Thompson (<$1m/year for next three years). And I guarantee K.J. McDaniels get paid more per year in his ensuing contract than any one of those four players will make over the course of their entire deal. He was not going to be a Sixer next year, and unless you’re fighting for a title, it’s better to acknowledge that early and get some value from the player. So in comes a second round pick (likely to be very close to where K.J. was drafted last summer) and Isaiah Canaan, who’s signed through next season. Canaan is a good, young point guard who will be thrust into high minutes with Carter-Williams spending his time in Milwaukee. But most importantly, he can shoot. Spacing has been the biggest issue for this current Sixers team, and the departed Rookie of the Year only exacerbated that. On the other hand, Canaan is shooting over 38% from three this year while hucking up 8.2 per 36 minutes. He does not need to be the point guard of the future, but he does have a chance to show he can be part of the rotation once the Sixers draft the guy they feel fits that role. With all the potential in the post (Embiid, Noel, Saric), Philadelphia will need guards that can knock down the open three when one of those guys faces a double team. Hinkie has given himself 15 months to see if he has that guy, at almost no risk: A-

The Knicks have to be psyched to be thrown into this trade. With their eyes on the bottom of the standings and a 25% chance at landing Jahlil Okafor, there is no desire to win this season. While most people have to give up picks to open up future cap space, New York netted two second round picks to pay Shved $3.3m this season instead of Prigioni $3.4m combined over this season and next. $1.7m in 2015 cap space isn’t huge, but for the mess New York has on its books, anything is a sweet relief: A+

**All stats/salary/research from Basketball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted**

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