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Inside the Sixers: Stockpiling picks is all part of Sixers' plan

ORLANDO - Folks are acting as if the 76ers aren't tanking. They are acting as if undrafted players Alexey Shved and Brandon Davies were a part of the team's long-term future. They act as if the Sixers (2-23) don't have the most inflated statistics in the NBA because of their pace.

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. (Bill Streicher/Staff Photographer)
76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. (Bill Streicher/Staff Photographer)Read more

ORLANDO - Folks are acting as if the 76ers aren't tanking.

They are acting as if undrafted players Alexey Shved and Brandon Davies were a part of the team's long-term future. They act as if the Sixers (2-23) don't have the most inflated statistics in the NBA because of their pace.

Have you ever wondered why the point guard - no matter who it is - usually leads the team in scoring and is closing in on a double-double? Did you ever think about how Evan Turner went from an all-star candidate with the Sixers to a seldom-used reserve with the Indiana Pacers last season?

Don't get caught up in the idea that the Sixers are insane for trading away valuable assets for just another second-round pick.

Truth be told, Shved was falling out of the rotation and unhappy about his limited playing time. Meanwhile, Davies' time would have decreased because Jerami Grant is now healthy and Furkan Aldemir has arrived.

The Sixers could have waived Shved and Davies to free up roster spots and bring in more players to audition. By doing that, they would not have received anything in return.

But in Shved's case, the Houston Rockets wanted him. So the Sixers flipped a guy they weren't going to play, as part of the deal that sent Corey Brewer to Houston from the Minnesota Timberwolves. For their part, the Sixers received the Rockets' 2015 second-round pick.

To make the three-team deal go through, the Sixers had to receive something else in return. So they acquired the rights to Spanish League player Sergei Lishouk. For good measure, the Sixers also received reserve center Ronny Turiaf, whom the Timberwolves were trying to unload and Houston didn't want. Turiaf, who appeared in only two games, had arthroscopic surgery on his right hip Tuesday that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

So the Sixers waived Turiaf to free up a roster spot and received a second-rounder. He still gets his expiring $1.6 million contract, and everyone's happy.

The move also gives the Sixers more salary-cap flexibility because they got rid of Shved's $3.1 million salary.

The transaction came a week after the Sixers acquired Andrei Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez, and a 2020 second-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets for Davies. They also received the rights to swap 2018 second-rounders with the Nets.

The Sixers already have waived Gutierrez and are expected to release Kirilenko, who is out because of personal reasons.

Some have argued against trading away healthy players in return for essentially nothing more than second-round picks. They say the logical thing would be to at least trade for a player who could help the team this season.

But the Sixers are tanking. You don't play someone the caliber of Kirilenko or even trade for a healthy Turiaf when your goal is to lose. These moves are all about acquiring assets to use for collateral to move up in future drafts, find the next hidden gem, or help pull off a trade later.

The tactic doesn't sound crazy when you realize that Houston sent Troy Daniels and two second-round picks to Minnesota in exchange for Brewer.

"I think the strong reminder for all of us is . . . What does it take to move the program forward?" coach Brett Brown said. "Hits like this, decisions like this are inevitable. . . .

"It's just part of the pain."

Part of the pain for Brown is not having a third point guard heading into Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic. But again, winning games is not a priority regardless of how many times the players tell people otherwise.

Critics will continue to laugh about the team's trading away players for second-round picks. But the Sixers don't care because they believe they are putting things in place to make a major splash in the draft in June.

Their first-rounder will be a top-four pick if they finish with the worst record. The first-round pick they received with Luc Mbah a Moute and Shved in the trade that sent Thaddeus Young to the Timberwolves is expected to fall from slot No. 16 to No. 18.

So the Young trade actually enabled the Sixers to get first- and second-rounders.

The Sixers' original second-round pick went to the Boston Celtics in the Arnett Moultrie draft-day trade in 2012. General manager Sam Hinkie more than made up for that by acquiring second-round picks from the Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, and Rockets.

Yet, folks are still chuckling because he obtained what in their minds is a stockpile of worthless second-round picks.

But K.J. McDaniels, Manu Ginobili, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Marc Gasol, Lou Williams, and even former Sixer Maurice Cheeks and NBA great Dennis Rodman are all proof that you can get value in the second round.

So getting rid of Shved and Davies for only second-rounders actually could be a good thing for this tanking franchise.

Inside the Sixers: Second Best

The 76ers have 14 second-round picks over the next six years. Here is the list:

2015 (Four)

From Orlando, New Orleans, Houston, and Golden State.

2016 (One)

From Denver.

2017 (One)

Their own.

2018 (Three)

Their own; better of New York's and Clippers'; better of Brooklyn's and Cleveland's.

2019 (Three)

Their own; from New York; better of Milwaukee's and Sacramento's.

2020 (Two)

Their own; from Brooklyn.

- Keith PompeyEndText