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June 25, 2015

NBA Draft: Rounding up the Sixers' second-round activity

There might not be a ton of keepers here

As the ESPN commentators made sure to hammer home, Sam Hinkie has become synonymous with the second round of the NBA Draft. The task at hand is not easy at all, but if you're able to find a contributor/rotation player at this point of the draft, it's extremely valuable due to the salary structure of the contracts. Jerami Grant looks like an example of one of these players.

Another way that the second round can provide value is via the draft-and-stash route, which essentially allows players to develop for free. Vasilije Micic, who plays point guard for Bayern Munich, is an example of one of these players. At the beginning of the round, the Sixers were scheduled to make picks 35, 37, 47, 58, and 60. Here's how they ended up.

35th pick: Traded Guillermo Hernangomez to Knicks

If you expected the Sixers to select a player from Sevilla in the Spanish ACB before the draft, it was probably Kristaps Porzingis in the first round. Nope, they took a 21-year-old-center known as "Willy," but only momentarily. The Sixers shipped Willy to the New York Knicks and reunited him with the fourth overall pick. Here's the return, per the Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring. We hardly knew ye, Willy:

37th pick: Richaun Holmes, Bowling Green

To steal a baseball term, Holmes, a 6'9" forward from Bowling Green, seems like a toolsy player. Late in his career, he showcased a jumper that might prove critical if it can continue to develop. The MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Holmes' calling card is his defense. As the second rounder with the best chance to earn a spot on the roster, he can join the likes of Grant and K.J. McDaniels (R.I.P.) in the block party. Good tidbit from our buddy Derek Bodner over at DraftExpress:

His length, explosiveness, and quickness off his feet, combined with good instincts and timing as a shot blocker, allowed Holmes to block 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted, tied for the 4th best figure in our database and just below the 4.2 per 40 minutes pace adjusted that Karl-Anthony Towns posted.

47th pick: Artūras Gudaitis, Lithuania

This is a guy I admittedly don't know much about. When he was announced, Fran Fraschilla, who does a nice job as ESPN's international hoops guru, had a funny line on the broadcast: "We're at the warm body portion of the draft now." In fairness, Gudaitis was ranked 36th in DraftExpress' Top 100 Prospects. The 6'10" Lithuanian big man played in his home country for Euroleague participant Zalgiris Kaunas (featuring former Sixer legend James Anderson!). In the competition, the 22-year-old averaged 6.5 points and 4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.

58th pick: J.P. Tokoto, North Carolina

Finally, a wing! Finally, someone we've all heard of! Tokoto is an extremely athletic 6'6" shooting guard from North Carolina. The knock on him is his poor efficiency (48% true shooting percentage in his junior year), but he did make 37.5 percent of his three-pointers this season. He seems like a potential 3-and-D guy, who like we mentioned earlier, is a splendid athlete. Evidence:

As his late draft status would indicate, Tokoto might not necessarily be sticking around. Nice scoop for Jake Fischer:

60th pick: Luka Mitrović, Serbia

The man that inspired this tweet:

Instant Reaction

They sort of punted here, right? With McDaniels and Grant in the 2014 second round, it felt like the Sixers attacked this portion of the draft last year. On paper, this is an extremely underwhelming haul, but maybe that is largely the point. With only 13 spots on the active roster, it's not like they can keep running out three second-round picks per year in the rotation. If I had to guess, tonight was two things:

1. A vote of confidence for players like JaKarr Sampson and possibly Thomas Robinson (who is a free agent). The front office liked their own guys more than those who were available.

2. A thumbs down to this particular second-round class, most on display in the Hernangomez trade.

Here's the important question that we can think about going forward: Even if this particular draft was hurt by a bunch of international withdrawals, does it really matter to have all of these second-round picks if you're going to pass one out of every two years? I'm not sure we can come up with a fair answer yet, but it's definitely a question that popped into my head tonight.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann