The next month will be spent debating what the 76ers should do with the No. 3 overall pick in next month's NBA draft. The selection was a gift from former general manager Sam Hinkie, who hosed the Sacramento Kings in a 2015 summer trade that will not be complete until the Sixers also get the Kings' first-round pick in 2019.
Other than to say that the Sixers' next move should be to take Kansas' Josh Jackson, this column will not be about that pick. Jackson is the right pick for the Sixers because he's a special talent who could end up being better than Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, the players projected to go to Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers with the first two picks.
That's enough about that.
The focus here is going to be on another fascination Hinkie had during his tenure as the 76ers general manager. Sift through his transactions and your head will spin as you count the number of deals Hinkie made involving second-round picks. In fact, the jackpot trade with Sacramento included the Sixers sending a second-round pick to the Kings.
As much as Hinkie's painful tank plan revolved around stockpiling as many lottery picks as possible, he was also into panning for gold where it is rarely found. You're going to get a lot of J.P. Tokotos and Russ Smiths in your second-round pursuits. But find just one gem, and it is all worthwhile.
Ask the Golden State Warriors, who took Draymond Green with the 35th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Ask the San Antonio Spurs, who took Manu Ginobili with the 57th overall pick in 1999.
For the record, the Sixers' best second-round picks of all-time are Maurice Cheeks (36th overall in 1978), Clint Richardson (36th overall in 1979), World B. Free (23rd overall in 1975) and George McGinnis (22nd overall in 1973). Obviously it was a much different dynamic picking in the second round years ago when the league had fewer teams.
Hinkie's biggest second-round hit appears to be Richaun Holmes, the 6-foot-10 center selected with the 37th overall pick out of Bowling Green in the 2015 draft. He took advantage of the injuries to Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor as well as the trade of Nerlens Noel to Dallas and averaged nearly 10 points and just over five rebounds per game in his second NBA season. He proved he can be part of the rotation, and that's great value coming out of the second round. It was a trade of another second-round pick (K.J. McDaniels to Houston) that got the Sixers the rights to take Holmes.
Jerami Grant, a second-round pick in 2014, could also prove to be beneficial in a far more complicated way. Current Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo, who also appears to have a fascination with second-round picks, traded Grant to Oklahoma City in November for Ersan Ilayasova and what could end up being two second-round picks in 2022 and 2023.
Ilayasova was then moved to Atlanta at last season's trade deadline for Tiago Splitter and what will be two second-round picks in this year's draft. Thanks to the combined interest of Hinkie and Colangelo in second-round picks, the Sixers have four of them next month.
"We have 36, 39, 46 and 50," Colangelo said. "We like the talent a lot at 36 and 39. There are a couple of pieces that may slide there. There's always a name you can get a little bit excited about. You can go back in draft history and see some of those names that have come up."
Villanova's Josh Hart, Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan and Kansas point guard Frank Mason are just a few of the names that could be available when the 76ers make their second-round picks.
"There are [also] some great European prospects that will not be ready to play right away, and they could be drafted as stash opportunities," Colangelo said. "We could [also] consolidate some [second-round picks] and maybe move up."
Or, Colangelo said, the Sixers could use a second-round pick or two as part of a trade for a player already in the league.
"Having those four picks that we acquired this year is going to be very valuable for us as we go into the draft process," Colangelo said.
Sam Hinkie would entirely trust that statement.