Note: This article is part of a series using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Elsewhere, you can read much more about the method and theory behind PAV. You can also read about PAPLEY, the projection method used to derive expected future PAVs, which has been revised for 2019.
In the past few seasons, GWS has seemingly been synonymous with pick trades at this time of year. The Giants started out with an extraordinary amount of talent that their entry concessions gave them, and since then have largely been focused on securing quality additions to that core. The Giants have been unafraid to add mature age players to fill short term gaps while their young talent matures into the role. Recycling players who either want to go home, or that they don’t want anymore, into future picks helps them manage their precarious cap situation – one that was even tighter after some of their early cap and list advantages were rescinded ahead of schedule.
GWS has also had a large number of promising academy players, even after the Murray region was largely removed. This has provided a rare opportunity for the Giants to master the double-up, trading two lower picks for a higher one, often at a slight loss on paper but a big gain in reality.
The maths for St Kilda is pretty straightforward. HPN has analysed the “split down” trade from the perspective of splitting pick 1 before, and the logic in that analysis holds here for St Kilda. Shedding pick 6 for 12 and 18 is a reasonably productive move from the Saints’ perspective. It’s a clear gain in future yield, by spreading the chance at success over two picks, which each have roughly 80% and 60% the chances of being successful selections as pick 6, respectively. In their list builds the Saints are a club who have repeatedly shown a taste for taking multiple shots at the same draft pool.
This trade, which sees the Giants send two top 20 picks for pick six (and 59), allows the Giants to potentially grab a top player before Canberran midfielder Tom Green is nominated by a rival club, forcing the Giants to match with their next available picks (currently 40, 59 and 60). Green is a serious talent, potentially underrated due to the fact that he is essentially tied to the Giants. In the year of the Big Two draft hopefuls, he may well be the closest to the third.
If St Kilda were to bid pick 6 for Green before this trade was made, the Giants would have lost pick 12 and seen their pick 18 downgraded. If the Giants have played their cards right, they will get a chance at grabbing Green and another top end talent (admittedly in a flat and weak draft class).
For the gamble to come off, they need to hope that the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney do not bid on Green. It’s the last two that may pose the most risk, but there are mitigating factors at play.
Adelaide will likely end up trading Sam Jacobs due to GWS wanting to preserve the Tomlinson compensation, and potentially be able to extract a higher pick under a loose agreement that they will not be interested in Green at the time of the draft. Dylan Stephens is the top South Australian talent this year, and is very promising but may be a slight reach at pick 4.
Sydney have shown interest in Green at 5, but that pick is perhaps likely to be at Essendon by the time the draft comes around.
The other option for GWS, if worried about Green bids, would be to try to shuffle further up the draft with different moves. There’s no rush on that front though, especially with the option of live pick trades on draft night. Notably, though, GWS currently only have picks worth 733 AFL bidding points, which can’t match a bid above about pick 18. The Giants surely have more trade moves coming to bring points back in.
Verdict: Fair effectively 2 for 1 trade. The late pick has points value to the Giants who currently hold picks 40, 59 and 60, still not enough to match the likely Green bid.