NBA draft data bit: Better late than never

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The Sixers chose Maurice Cheeks in the second round, and he helped them win the 1983 NBA championship.

After the word process, what’s the next thing most basketball fans associate with Sam Hinkie?

Second-round picks.

The 76ers’ former president of basketball operations hoarded second-round picks during his tenure. He believed there was value in the second round, and he’s right. Some of the biggest draft successes ever have come from the second round of the draft.

By using our NBA Draft Data Tool, we can find the best players taken in the second round over the last 40 years. (Note: For the purposes of this article, “second round” means after the first 30, the current length of the first round.)

(For an explanation of the methodology and what win shares, expected win shares, and percentage of expected win shares are — and why we’re only studying the first 54 picks — read the first entry in this series.)

The best second-round pick ever was Jeff Hornacek, who was selected at No. 46 by the Suns in 1986. He wound up compiling 108.9 win shares, the most of any player in that year’s class. Maurice Cheeks, the Sixers’ pick at No. 36 in 1978, earned 103.5 win shares.

Best of the Rest

The top 30 players, by total win shares, selected after pick No. 30, the current length of the first round.

T.J. FURMAN / Staff

Two other second-round picks who were not in our sample (because we’re only looking at the top 54) stand out: Manu Ginobili and Isaiah Thomas. Ginobili was the 57th pick in 1999 and earned 104. 2 win shares in his career, the third-best in that year’s class behind Shawn Marion and Elton Brand. Thomas was the last pick in 2011 and is also third in that year’s class, behind Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler and ahead of Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson.

As for Hinkie and second-round picks, it’s turned up some relatively decent talent. After accounting for draft-day trades, the six second-round picks made by the Sixers during Hinkie’s tenure have returned 221.8 percent of their expected win shares, primarily on the strength of Jerami Grant’s 5.6 and Richaun Holmes’ 5.3.

Take a spin through the draft data tool above. If you find any interesting trends or tidbits, let us know in the comments below or on social media. We’ll have our final draft data bit on Thursday.