By selecting Jordan Hawkins with the 14th overall pick and signing undrafted guard Landers Nolley II, the New Orleans Pelicans bolstered their shooting. And some would argue that is exactly what the fans wanted them to do.
On Thursday, before the draft, we decided to poll fans on what they wanted the Pelicans to do with the 14th overall pick. They had two options, both of which were areas that the Pelicans desperately needed to improve: rim protection and shooting.
Last season, the Pelicans allowed the highest opponent rim accuracy in the entire league (per Cleaning the Glass). And as for shooting, as a team, they finished 23rd in 3-point makes (11.0) and 29th in 3-point attempts (30.1) last season.
Anyway, we asked fans on our Twitter what area they would have preferred the Pelicans address in the draft, and here is what they said:
In total, our poll received 95 votes, with 60% (57 votes) going to shooting and just 40% (38 votes) going toward rim protection.
That makes sense when you think about it. Generally speaking, fans tend to gravitate to the offensive side of the ball, so it is more likely that they notice our issues on that end and want to see those problems addressed.
But even more than that, there were more sharpshooters than rim protectors available around the 14 range (which is likely what fans were thinking about when they were answering this question).
In the late lottery, the Pelicans could have potentially picked guys like Hawkins, Jett Howard, Gradey Dick, Dariq Whitehead, and Brice Sensabaugh, among others. Meanwhile, the only rim protectors that had been rumored to be in this range were Dereck Lively II and Noah Clowney.
In any event, the Pelicans still have free agency and their full mid-level exception and bi-annual exception to play around with to try and acquire some more rim protection. They will also want to look into bringing in someone who can pressure the rim, but that is a different story for a different article.
For now, at least the team listened to the fans and brought in a couple of shooters who can theoretically give Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram more space to work with this upcoming season.