Pelicans draft: A freakish athlete for the second round

Memphis Tigers forward Josh Minott Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Tigers forward Josh Minott Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans are in a great position entering the 2022 NBA Draft.

They are coming off a playoff appearance and have three picks, including the 8th pick in the lottery, as well as the 41st and 52nd picks in the second round.

They also have a full roster, with 14 players under contract and Zion Williamson returning, so the Pels are not likely to have roster spots for three draft picks even if they find three players who were capable of making the roster.

That means they could shoot for the moon in the second round, take a guy with upside that needs development and stash him in the G-League for a season or two.

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Josh Minott from Memphis fits the description of a developmental player with high upside.

Pelicans draft: Josh Minott’s strengths and weaknesses

Minott is a 6-foot-8, 205 lbs. forward who has spent one season at Memphis. He got the nickname “Baby Giannis” from teammates, which is quite a stretch, but you can see from these highlights that he is freakishly athletic and has great length with a 6-foot-11 wingspan.

Minott is a plus athlete, who runs the floor well, can finish in transition and is a very good shot blocker on the wing. He hasn’t proven himself at all as a shooter, and rarely takes shots from beyond the arc.

When you see his shooting motion, you can see why, as he has funky mechanics that he’ll need to work on to develop a league-average 3-point shot. He has the tools to be an elite defender and has a high motor and work ethic, so he would fit right in with the defensive identity that the Pelicans are building.

Minott profiles as a defense/energy guy who will run the floor and deliver some big dunks.

2022 NBA Draft: How Josh Minott fits on the New Orleans Pelicans

Minott is not NBA-ready, which might suit the Pelicans because they probably aren’t going to have a roster spot for two second-round picks. He has the raw tools to be an impact NBA player, but Minott may need some refinement before he is ready for a rotation.

As long as the Pelicans have Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, they will be looking for long, athletic players who can either shoot or defend (hopefully both) to put around them, and Minott could be that kind of guy.

He’s not as good a defensive prospect as Herbert Jones, but has that sort of motor and length to disrupt games all over the floor. The Pelicans can never have too many of these types of players, so Minott is definitely a developmental option for the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

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