Draft analyst offers insight on what Pelicans should do with 14th pick

Jordan Hawkins, UConn Huskies. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Jordan Hawkins, UConn Huskies. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The 2023 NBA Draft is just a couple of days away. And while there have been some rumblings about the New Orleans Pelicans potentially pulling off a massive trade to move up in the draft for G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, there is also a good chance that they just stand pat and keep their original first-round pick (the 14th overall pick in the draft).

If that does end up being the case, the question now becomes: how should they use that pick? To try and answer that question, we asked for insight from draft analyst Bryce Simon of Sports Illustrated’s Draft Digest. Here is what he had to say:

"“Assuming the roster stays as is, the Pelicans have a couple different paths they could take. First, you add a center to eventually replace Jonas Valanciunas and protect the rim. Not sure of the likelihood of him being there at No. 14, but Dereck Lively II would seem to be a great fit. He provides the defense they need, and there is some real belief in his outside shot-making that would pair nicely with Zion Williamson in the frontcourt.Second, they could opt to add some shot-making on the perimeter. Any one of Gradey Dick, Jordan Hawkins, and Keyonte George could be on the board. I lean towards Hawkins as the best 3-point shooter in the class because of his movement shooting ability, but Dick does offer some more size if that’s what the Pelicans prefer in a prospect.Finally, a player who could come in and add some depth to the backcourt is Jalen Hood-Schifino.He is a true combo guard with good size that could play alongside any combination of the Pelicans’ current backcourt. There are questions about the shot, but he plays with great pace, is comfortable in the mid-range, and is going to offer some really good defensive value with his ability to execute schemes and scouting reports. At the end of the day, I think Lively II and Dick are both off the board when New Orleans makes their pick. In that case, I would lean with Hawkins as my first option and Hood-Schifino second."

Simon’s comments get at one of the major themes of this website’s discourse over the last couple of months. The Pelicans need to add rim protection and perimeter shooting this off-season. Lively II would theoretically remedy that first concern, while guys like Dick, Hawkins, George, and (to a lesser degree) Hood-Schifino may be able to address to the other.

Will any of these players be on the board when it’s time for the Pelicans to pick at 14? I guess we will find out on Thursday.

To learn more about these prospects, be sure to check out Simon’s work on Dick, Hood-Schifino, George, and Hawkins

Next. 5 trades for the Pelicans to move up and draft Scoot Henderson. dark