The New Orleans Pelicans stashed Didi Louzada overseas after drafting him 35th overall in 2019.
He has spent this season learning now to speak English and has also gained 40 pounds, which should help him withstand the rigors of playing in the NBA.
Louzada is still raw, especially offensively, and has a lot of work to do on his shot and handles but he is reminiscent of another guard/small forward, Luguentz Dort.
Not much has gone right for the OKC Thunder this season, but Dort has been one of the best surprises, as he was undrafted and is now making an impact on both ends of the floor.
Could Didi Louzada have a similar impact for the New Orleans Pelicans?
New Orleans Pelicans: Didi Louzada and Luguentz Dort
Like Louzada, Dort entered the league as a guy not many fans had heard of. Dort was able to carve out a role for himself as a rookie and had a pretty good first season, averaging 6.8 points and showing some tantalizing defensive skills.
Dort struggled shooting the ball and was viewed mostly as a defensive specialist.
He has made a big leap this season and got some buzz for the defense he played on LeBron James earlier this year.
He has improved his 3-point shooting to 34 percent while doubling his attempts. He is now averaging over 14 points a game, playing lockdown defense all over the court and looks like one of best undrafted players in the league.
Louzada will enter the NBA with many of the same strengths and weaknesses. Like Dort, Louzada is a willing defender who is usually tasked with guarding the other team’s best scorer in the NBL.
His shot needs work, but he can slash to the basket like Dort and make plays, which is something the Pelicans want him to focus on. He has the potential to be a lockdown defender and will join the Pels hoping to make the rotation as a defensive specialist from the wing, something the Pels could definitely use.
Louzada could be a guy who makes a big leap between year one and two as he adjusts to the speed of the NBA and becoming more of a catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter who can drive to the hoop to finish or kick out.
Dort is one of the best stories in the NBA this season and the New Orleans Pelicans are hoping that Louzada can follow in his footsteps by becoming a defense-first wing who eventually finds a shot.