The New Orleans Pelicans are in the thick of a heavily-contested race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference (they are currently tied for ninth with the Los Angeles Lakers but are only two games out from fifth place).
But even with this situation occupying the minds of Pelicans’ fans, there is always time to look to the future, especially when the Pelicans could stand to have a pretty high pick if they or the Lakers fall into a tailspin to close out the season.
With this in mind, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor recently put out an updated mock draft that had the Pelicans selecting tenth. With this pick, O’Connor projects that the Pelicans will select Kansas Jayhawks freshman Gradey Dick.
Here is a snippet of what O’Connor had to say about the selection:
"“After a season that began with so much promise, has the tanking begun in New Orleans? Dick would provide the type of shooting the core Pelicans players lack. But what they really need is a star who can stay healthy.”"
O’Connor is correct in his assessment that this Pelicans’ team is sorely lacking in outside shooting. On the season, the team is 25th in three-point makes per game (10.7), 29th in three-point attempts (30.2), and 20th in three-point percentage (35.4%).
As a 40.6% three-point shooter on good volume (5.8 three-point attempts per game), selecting Dick would go a long way toward solving the Pelicans’ shooting woes. Plus, at 6’8, he’s another big body they can play at guard, which fits their stylistic preference for drafting bigger guards and wings with their first picks (think Dyson Daniels and Trey Murphy III).
Unfortunately, O’Connor is also correct about the team needing players that can stay healthy. Injuries have been the overarching theme of the season for the Pelicans, with the team among the league leaders in player games missed due to injuries.
While the sample is small, Dick has not missed any of the Jayhawks’ 31 games this season, which hopefully is a sign that he will be the iron man this team so desperately needs if they end up selecting him with their 2023 first-round pick.