Some players the New Orleans Pelicans may have missed in the draft

Kobe Bufkin, Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Kobe Bufkin, Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans selected UConn Huskies sharpshooter Jordan Hawkins with their 14th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. And while this pick addresses a major need of the team (shooting), one can’t help but look at some of the names that were still on the board at the time of his selection. So, that’s exactly what we are going to do.

Immediately after he was selected, the Atlanta Hawks chose Kobe Bufkin with their 15th overall pick. While he isn’t the shooter (35.5% from three last season) that Hawkins is (38.8%), he is an incredibly versatile player for his position. In fact, his multi-faceted game even compelled one scout we spoke with to suggest that the Pelicans use their 14th overall pick on him. Here is a snippet of what Cooper Klein said when offering his suggestion:

"“Bufkin’s an elite defender who uses every inch of his 6-8 wingspan to his advantage at the point-of-attack while also being a smart rotational defender. Offensively he’s a great shooter and closeout attacker who can play either guard spot and make every type of pass in the book. The Pelicans have a chance to add someone who could legitimately close playoff games next to their stars here, and they should take it.”"

Speaking of high-IQ versatile guards, another name that scouts mentioned as being a candidate for the 14th overall pick is Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski. He was on the board when the Pelicans made this pick, and he was ultimately snatched up by the Golden State Warriors (a team with a pretty nice draft record) with the 19th overall pick. Here is a preview of what Bryce Hendricks said when he advocated for the Pelicans to select him at 14 on our website:

"“A more likely name to still be there around 14 is Brandin Podziemski. Podziemski is an under-the-radar guy currently, but he hails from the same school as Jalen Williams, and he could see a similar post-combine surge. His combination of shooting and off-the-dribble shooting is enticing, and he projects as a passable defender with good size at the guard spot.”"

Along with Hawkins (who may be the best shooter in this class), some other marksmen who were on the board when the Pelicans were selecting were Brice Sensabaugh, Keyonte George, and Dariq Whitehead. Sensabaugh ended up being selected by the Utah Jazz at 28. Keyonte George was also selected by the Jazz (but at 16). And Dariq Whitehead was chosen 22nd by the Brooklyn Nets.

Will any of these players end up being better than Hawkins? Only time will be able to answer that question. For now, all we can do is keep tabs on all these players and see what the future holds for them.

Next. 3 disastrous mistakes the Pelicans must avoid making this summer. dark