10 Players the New Orleans Pelicans gave up on way too soon

New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Julius Randle
New Orleans Pelicans, Julius Randle (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

5. Julius Randle

Julius Randle was the seventh overall pick by the Lakers in the 2014 draft, but things did not go as planned in Los Angeles. His rookie season lasted just 14 minutes before a foot injury ended his season. Randle got back on the floor and continued to improve throughout his four years, but the Lakers missed the playoffs every year.

Los Angeles decided against making Randle a restricted free agent, which opened the door for the Pelicans to sign him to a one-plus-one contract in 2018.

The 6’8 forward took his game to another level in New Orleans as he averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 30.6 minutes per game. He set new career highs in scoring, minutes, and 3-point percentage as he lived up to his draft hype. The Pelicans won just 33 games and missed the playoffs before Randle opted out of his contract at the end of the season.

After that, Randle signed a three-year deal with the New York Knicks in 2019 and is now a two-time All-Star and an elite scorer. He is averaging over 25 points per game this season, and New York will be in the playoffs for the second time in three years.

The Pelicans should have kept Julius Randle after his breakout season. Instead, they let him walk, traded Anthony Davis, and have won just 97 games over the next three seasons combined.