The 2023 NBA Draft is just one day 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 they don’t decide to go for a drastic roster overhaul and keep their current pick, this current iteration of the Pelicans could use help in three areas: shooting, rim protection, and rim pressure (outside of Zion Williamson).
In their final mock draft of the cycle, SB Nation projected that New Orleans will try to remedy that first area by selecting Ohio State guard Brice Sensabaugh with their 14th overall pick. Here is what Ricky O’Donnell (the drafter of SB Nation’s big board) had to say about the pick:
"“The Pelicans want Scoot Henderson, and I think they have enough trade ammunition to get it done if they’re willing part with Zion Williamson. If New Orleans can’t pull off the trade, Sensabaugh makes sense here as a knockdown shooter who could space the floor for Williamson and Brandon Ingram.”"
Last season, New Orleans was 23rd in 3-point makes (11.0) and 29th in 3-point attempts (30.1). They also rostered only four players who have been league-average or higher on wide-open 3-point percentage in the last three seasons.
If selected, Sensabaugh would provide an immediate boost to the team’s shooting. In his lone season at Ohio State, Sensabaugh shot 40.5% on 4.5 3-point attempts per game. He also shot 83% from the free throw line (free throw shooting is a great context-independent measure of a player’s shooting ability).
O’Donnell’s prediction is part of a continuing theme of analysts/websites projecting the Pelicans to add a shooter/spacer with the 14th overall pick. Along with Sensabaugh, we’ve seen names like Gradey Dick, Keyonte George, Jordan Hawkins, and Dariq Whitehead all get mentioned as potential options for the Pelicans at this spot.
Do the Pelicans ultimately add a new shooter to the crew tonight? Do they choose to add some rim protection instead? What about a great paint scorer? What if there is someone who can give them a little bit of all three available when they make their pick? What if they throw all this out the window, gut their current team, and just trade for Henderson?
Man, thinking about the draft and all of its endless possibilities is so much fun.