New Orleans Pelicans: Who is 52nd pick Karlo Matkovic?
The New Orleans Pelicans had three picks in the 2022 NBA Draft and used one of them on Karlo Matković from the Serbian league.
Of course, 8th pick Dyson Daniels has been getting most of the attention along with E.J. Liddell, who many believe is going to end up being the steal of the draft.
Most fans don’t know much about Matković, but he is a very intriguing prospect, who could be another late gem for the New Orleans Pelicans.
He caught the Pels’ eye after an incredible pro day, where he impressed with his athleticism, increased strength and outside shooting, which you can see on full display here:
He’d be a long shot to make the rotation right away, but he has big-time upside and may end up surprising some people.
New Orleans Pelicans: Karlo Matković’s strengths and weakness and how he fits
As you can see from the video above, Matković is a bouncy 6-foot-10 big man who plays more like a wing than a power forward. He has a high motor and plays with a little edge, which fits the culture the Pelicans are trying to build.
Offensively, he is very good at moving without the ball, especially as the roll in the PnR, where he really excels. He’s very good at hard rolls to the paint and is an above-the-rim finisher when he gets the ball heading downhill, as you can see from these highlights.
He also has the knack for sliding into space after the picks and finding spots for little hooks and floaters.
Defensively, he’s a pretty good off-the-ball shot blocker, but the issue is going to be whether he can body NBA forwards without getting pushed around. Some of that concern was alleviated at his pro day, as it looks like he has put on some weight and added muscle to his frame.
He has a good shooting stroke, but has mostly played as a rim runner and lob catcher in the Serbian league, but he’ll have to improve his shooting volume and accuracy to make it in the NBA.
I see Matković as a potential replacement for Jaxson Hayes down the road if the Pelicans end up trading him or allowing him to walk in free agency after next season. The two players have some similarities, so Matković will likely have to toil in the G-League or overseas before he gets a chance to crack the rotation.
Don’t sleep on this guy though, as Matković is tough and hard-working and has already shown big improvements in some of his areas of weakness.