Pelicans draft: A lights-out shooter for the 2nd round

Collin Gillespie #2 of the Villanova Wildcats (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Collin Gillespie #2 of the Villanova Wildcats (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have three picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, including two in the second round.

The Pels took a chance on an older pick in the second round last year and found All-Rookie Herbert Jones, who worked his way into the starting lineup and is already one of the best defenders in the league.

New Orleans hopes to find another gem in the second round this year with the 41st and 52nd overall selections. They could go for another upperclassman, and there is one from Villanova who could fill a need.

The Pelicans could use boost of 3-point shooting and Collin Gillespie is one of the best shooters in the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s been turning heads at the draft combine and could go from a fringe draft pick into the middle of the second round:

Pelicans draft: Collin Gillespie’s strengths and weaknesses

Gillespie is the rare 5-year senior and will turn 23-years-old two days after the 2022 NBA Draft, so he’ll come to the league with plenty of experience. He’s been a winner and team leader at Villanova, where he was a part of three Big East titles and a National Championship.

He’s also had a whole lot of NBA teammates, so Gillespie has practiced and played against good competition.

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He’s a 6-foot-3 combo guard who doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism and there are questions about whether he’ll be able to defend in the NBA.

Gillespie can shoot though, hitting 41.5 percent of his long-range shots on over seven attempts per game. He has a good motor and can run off screens, so his ceiling is a JJ Redick type, but he’ll have to show that he can be a team defender and thrive more off the ball, as Redick did in his NBA career.

He’s a good playmaker and scorer, so will try to work his way onto an NBA roster by showing he can run an offense off the bench and hit 3-point shots.

2022 NBA Draft: Collin Gillespie’s fit on the New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans were 27th in the NBA in 3-point percentage this season, so they definitely need some guys who can shoot.

The Pelicans already have three small guards, but only one of them is really a shooter and Devonte’ Graham took a big dip in that department this season.

New Orleans doesn’t have anyone who is really a 3-point specialist, so grabbing a guy who is a lights-out shooter makes sense, even if he has other flaws in his game. Shooters are going to get great looks with all of the creators the Pelicans have and they also have enough versatile defenders to cover the defensive limitations of a bench guard.

If the Pelicans didn’t see Graham as part of the long-term plans, they could take a chance on a guy like Gillespie, who could be another older prospect who is ready to contribute.

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