NBA player comparisons for New Orleans Pelicans rookie Jordan Hawkins

Jordan Hawkins, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Jordan Hawkins, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Without a doubt, the headliner of the New Orleans Pelicans’ incoming rookie class is their first-round pick Jordan Hawkins. As we’ve already established, Hawkins can shoot the leather off of the ball (those balls are made of leather, right?), and he is versatile about how he does it. But what are some good player comparisons for what kind of player Hawkins could be in the NBA?

Whenever you compare players to each other, you lose a bit of nuance. However, player comparison is still a necessary evil as it helps provide people with some understanding of what kind of player a prospect could someday become. So, how do we go about it?

While comparing players is an incredibly imperfect science, there are some resources that give you a better chance of identifying accurate comparisons than others. One of those tools is Cerebro Sports’ 5-metric suite, which (among other things) allows you to compare players based on the similarities in their scores in these five skill statistics.

Their five skill metrics are Pure Scoring Prowess (PSP), 3-Point Efficiency (3PE), Floor General Skills (FGS), Around The Rim (ATR), and Defensive Statistical Impact (DSI). To learn more about what all these metrics measure, check out this page right here.

These metrics are based on a soft scale of 0-100, meaning that 0 is the worst and 100 is the best. Although, outlier talents could theoretically surpass that 100 mark in certain skills. For instance, in 2022-23, Stephen Curry (the greatest shooter ever) had a 3PE score of 104.

With that established, here is what Hawkins’ 5-metric suite looked like during his sophomore season of college (keep in mind, this excludes tournament games):

Hawkins 2022-23 5-Metric Suite (31 games)

PSP: 72

3PE: 86

FGS: 51

ATR: 58

DSI: 73

We then took those numbers and did a global search for all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players since 1980 who had a PSP score between 70 and 80, a 3PE between 80 and 90, an FGS between 50 and 60, an ATR between 55 and 65, and a DSI between 65 and 75.

We also filtered out for usage rate to account for offensive load. Hawkins had a usage percentage (USG%) of 25%. So, we looked for players with a USG% between 20% and 30%. We also had a minimum games played threshold of 20 to avoid any noise clouding our sample.

Overall, we found 92 player seasons that fit this criteria, two of which belong to notable NBA players. The first was Joe Harris’ age-21 season at Virginia (remember Hawkins is also 21 years old). This makes sense, as Harris is a sharpshooter who can triples while in a stationary position or off of movement.

However, the more intriguing comparison that we found is Immanuel Quickley’s age-20 season at Kentucky. This past year, in his third season with the New York Knicks, Quickley has blossomed into one of the most promising young two-way combo guards in basketball. If Hawkins could ever reach that level, that would be a major win for the Pelicans (especially when you consider where he was drafted).

Next. 10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark