Unprotected Pick Nba

Unprotected Pick NBA: The Pros and Cons of Trading Your Top Draft Pick

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, attracting millions of fans from all corners of the globe. Every year, the NBA draft takes place, and teams have the opportunity to select promising young talent to bolster their rosters.

However, not all draft picks are created equal, and some teams will have a highly coveted top pick. Deciding what to do with this pick can be a difficult decision, especially if the team is looking to rebuild and needs a player who can make an immediate impact. One option that has been explored in recent years is an unprotected pick trade. This article will explore the pros and cons of this type of trade and provide insight into its potential value for both teams involved.

What is an Unprotected Pick NBA Trade?

Before diving into the pros and cons of an unprotected pick trade, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. An unprotected pick trade is a deal between two teams where one team agrees to trade their top draft pick, with no protections, to the other team in exchange for a package of players and future draft picks. The pick they receive is then unprotected, which means that if it is the first overall pick, the other team will also receive the second overall pick if it is not conveyed.

Pros of an Unprotected Pick NBA Trade

1. Potential to Land Star Talent

The biggest advantage of an unprotected pick trade is the potential to land a star player. If a team is willing to part with their top pick without any protections, it likely means they believe there isn’t a player available who can turn their franchise around. Therefore, another team may see the value in the pick and offer a package of players and picks that can help them immediately, while also giving them the chance to select a franchise player with the top pick.

2. Flexibility in Building a Roster

Trading for an unprotected pick can also provide a team with additional flexibility in building their roster. By acquiring a top draft pick, they can use that asset to select a player who fits their team’s needs, while also having the ability to potentially trade other players or picks to fill other roster gaps. This can also help teams avoid committing long-term contracts to players who may not work out in the long run.

3. Financial and Salary Cap Flexibility

Finally, an unprotected pick trade can provide teams with financial flexibility. Young draft picks typically carry lower salaries, which can free up cap space to sign other free agents or acquire other players in trades. Additionally, having an unprotected pick can provide teams with additional leverage in negotiations with free agents, as they can offer the opportunity to play alongside a top draft pick.

Cons of an Unprotected Pick NBA Trade

1. Risk of Losing a Top Pick

Perhaps the biggest drawback of an unprotected pick trade is the risk of losing a top pick. If a team trades away their top pick without any protections and the player they acquire in return does not live up to expectations, they could be left with a depleted roster and no clear path forward. This is especially true if the unprotected pick ends up being the first overall pick and the team doesn’t have a shot at selecting a franchise-altering player.

2. Giving Up Control of the Future

Another potential drawback of an unprotected pick trade is giving up control of the future. By trading away a top pick, a team is essentially putting their fate in the hands of the other team, hoping that the players they receive in exchange will provide immediate results while also setting them up for long-term success. This can be a risky proposition, as there is no guarantee that the picks or players received in exchange will work out.

3. Difficulty in Finding a Partner

Finally, finding a partner for an unprotected pick trade can be difficult. While teams may be willing to trade for a top pick, they may not be willing to give up the assets required to acquire it. Additionally, teams may be hesitant to trade away valuable picks or players, especially if they see a strong draft class coming up in the future.


An unprotected pick NBA trade can be a valuable tool for teams looking to build a championship-caliber roster. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. While the potential to select a franchise-altering player is enticing, the risk of losing control of the future and giving up a top pick can be significant. Ultimately, it will be up to each team to determine whether an unprotected pick trade makes sense for their long-term goals and strategies.