Pelicans draft: The Pels need an elite skill from the NBA Draft

Jan 13, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans will likely be picking in the lottery in the NBA Draft again, but this time, they need a more focused effort.

When a team is rebuilding, they should draft for talent over need, which is what they claim to have done when then selected guys like Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. who have all shown signs of their high-ceiling talent.

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With Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and hopefully Lonzo Ball forming the foundation of the franchise the Pelicans have plenty of high-ceiling talent, so this draft, they need to look more for need and skill.

The Pels will likely choose somewhere between the 10th and 14th pick in the lottery, so will probably not get a shot at the elite talent in the top five.

So instead, they need to choose a guy who already has an NBA-ready skill and can contribute right away, not a player who needs three years to develop.

New Orleans Pelicans: What the Pels need out of the NBA Draft

The Pelicans will enter this NBA Draft with a much better idea of what they need for the future. Like I said, they already have all of the high-ceiling offensive talent they need but are severely lacking in other areas.

The Pelicans desperately need help with their defense, so taking a guy who is already a lockdown defender would be a good idea. Position doesn’t really matter but they need someone who can play elite on-the-ball defense right away. A guy like Davion Mitchell from Baylor has proven himself to be in that category and could improve the Pels’ defense immediately.

The Pels could always use shooters to put around Zion Williamson, so a guy like Corey Kispert from Gonzaga also makes a lot of sense.

Kispert certainly has some weaknesses, but he is a lights-out shooter already and a guy who has the age and experience to contribute right away.

The New Orleans Pelicans are not there yet, but they are very close to being good and it won’t take much longer with Zion Williamson playing the way he is, so they need to avoid “potential” and go after guys in the NBA Draft who can already do at least one thing very well.

Whether this player is a defender or a shooter, the Pels should focus their efforts on players who will come in with defined roles and avoid more guys with high upside who don’t really have a recognizable NBA skill to build upon.

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