New Orleans Pelicans draft: 3 and D prospect from Colorado

Colorado Buffaloes forward Jabari Walker Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado Buffaloes forward Jabari Walker Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans have the 8th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but they also have the 41st and 52nd picks in the second round.

The Pelicans hope to find some undervalued talent there, as they did last year when they drafted Herbert Jones in the second round and then grabbed Jose Alvarado as an un-drafted free agent.

Adding another player in the Jones/Alvarado mold makes sense, as the Pelicans already have plenty of scoring and would like to keep adding to a defense that could become elite with the right offseason additions.

One 2nd-round prospect who might be able to offer some immediate help on both ends is Jabari Walker from the University of Colorado, who will be on the Pels’ radar when they choose in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

New Orleans Pelicans draft: Jabari Walker’s strengths and weaknesses

Jabari Walker is a 6-foot-8, 214 lbs. forward from the University of Colorado who averaged  14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his Sophomore season.

Walker has some flaws, as he turns the ball over way too much for someone who is not really a playmaker and is not a guy who is going to beat NBA defenders off the dribble.

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His strengths are on the defensive end, where he can defend multiple positions and has the athleticism and instincts to be very good if he dedicates himself.

His 3-point shooting took a dip to 34.6 percent this season after he shot an outstanding 52.3 percent as a freshman. Walker’s usage and shot attempts doubled, so it wasn’t a big shock when his numbers went back down to earth.

He projects as a good on-the-ball defender who can guard three positions and will be able to switch from the post to the perimeter.

Walker has the frame and athleticism to be a good defender and rebounder so it will really come down to whether he can do enough on offense.

2022 NBA Draft: How Jabari Walker fits on the New Orleans Pelicans

With three elite scorers in Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum, the New Orleans Pelicans will try to continue to add versatile players who complement them.

Walker is a fit in that regard, as he won’t need the ball in his hands to be effective and can make an impact on the defensive end and boards without scoring much.

The Pelicans will eventually need to find a replacement for Larry Nance Jr. and if it doesn’t look like Naji Marshall is going to work out, a guy like Walker makes sense, as he projects as a similar type of player and will be on a lowball rookie deal.

The Pelicans definitely need 3-point shooting and Walker projects as about average in that department, but they also need players who can play defensively, fit within the team concept and not need volume shots to impact the game.

Walker doesn’t have any elite skills, but he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses and could be another Herb Jones type who plays hard on defense, makes hard cuts on offense and stays out of the stars’ way.

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