The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly narrowing their choices in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Recent reports and speculation have them hoping that one of Dyson Daniels or Bennedict Mathurin will fall to them with the 8th pick.
Of course, there have also been reports that the Pelicans could trade back, so they are definitely keeping their minds and options open and really hold all of the cards considering that they already have a strong roster and Zion Williamson returning.
If a high-upside project like Shaedon Sharpe were to fall into their laps, I am sure they would consider him as well, but so far most indications are that it will be Daniels or Mathurin.
Even if that is not true, these two represent two very different types of prospects and either one of them would be a fit for the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans Pelicans draft: Dyson Daniels vs. Bennedict Mathurin
According to the measurements at the draft combine, Dyson Daniels is 6-foot-6 without shoes with a wingspan over 6-foot-10, while Mathurin is 6-foot-4 without shoes with a 6-foot-9 wingspan.
Daniels is considered to have more upside as a defender, while Mathurin may have more as an overall scorer and offensive player.
Daniels is more of a playmaking wing, who has played some point guard and is comfortable initiating the offense, while Mathurin is more of shooter and slasher.
Daniels had better all-around numbers in the G-League averaging 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game while Mathurin notched 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a steal for Arizona.
Mathurin’s playmaking is a work in process, while Daniels long-range shot is his biggest question mark on offense.
Mathurin is probably the more explosive athlete, but Daniels is taller and is very good at using his length to disrupt ball-handlers and passing lanes, much like Herbert Jones.
Mathurin’s fit seems more obvious, as he is a much better 3-point shooter (for now), which would fill a need for the Pels.
The Pelicans already have plenty of guys who make plays, but I do see Daniels as more of a wing facilitator than a point guard, so I see no problems playing him with Jose Alvarado and the two would be menacing defensively.
Some have compared Daniels to Lonzo Ball which would lead to the obvious question: If you didn’t keep Lonzo, why draft a guy who is kind of/sort of like him? The answer is simple, trading Lonzo was never real about fit, it was about not wanting to pay him, especially given his injury history and the Pels’ already sketchy record in that department. Given how many games he missed this season, I’d say that concern was validated.
It’s likely that one of these two players will be off the board before the Pelicans choose, which would help make their decision easier, but if it comes down to these two, which would you rather have?
The playmaking and defense of Daniels or the shooting and explosive athleticism of Mathurin?