3. Jordan Hawkins
Of all the players on the Pelicans’ roster, 2023 first-round pick Jordan Hawkins is the most logical person to masquerade as Murphy in his absence.
Like Murphy, Hawkins can absolutely stroke it from downtown. And on top of that, Hawkins adds a movement shooting dimension to this offense (Murphy is more of a spot-up marksman). He can hit spot-ups, transition treys, threes while running off screens, the whole nine yards. This will allow him to make up for the fact that he isn’t the high-flyer than Murphy is.
He also isn’t as good of a defender as Murphy is, but don’t forget that Hawkins played an integral role on a UConn team that just won the Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. Last season, UConn had the 7th best defense in the NCAA (98th percentile, per KenPom), and Hawkins played in 69.5% of the team’s minutes. So, that must mean that he, at the very least, knows how to defend in a team concept.
Overall, Hawkins is still only a rookie, and very rarely does a rookie play as well as Murphy was expected to play this season. But if he can provide some off-ball offense with his shooting versatility, hold his own on defense, and get some help in the areas we talked about with McCollum and Marshall, he’ll be able to contribute to the Pelicans holding down the fort until Murphy is back on the court.