3. Jordan Hawkins – Rookie of the Year (ROY)
Okay, Jordan Hawkins being named the 2023-24 ROY of the year is a long shot. The last time a player drafted outside of the top-10 in the draft took home the award was in 2016-17, when Malcolm Brogdon won it. On top of that, Hawkins isn’t even ranked in the top-10 in odds to win it, according to Fanduel Sportsbook. With that said, there is a world where Hawkins carves out a big enough role to add his name to the mix.
As we’ve talked about ad nauseam this offseason, the Pelicans need to get as much spacing around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram as possible. The main reason for why the Pelicans drafted Hawkins with the 14th overall pick in the first place was because of his splendor as a marksman.
With Murphy set to miss the early part of the season, the Pelicans are going to need Hawkins’ outside shooting even more than they did before. We’ve already seen the Pelicans using him and Williamson together in actions during the preseason.
This was a simple screening action that led to an easy layup. Think about all the potential plays that the Pelicans could come up with by combining Williamson’s rim pressure with Hawkins’ 3-point shooting. There’s a world where Hawkins earns himself a significant role in Murphy’s absence. And if that significant role entails him being a starter on a high-seeded playoff team, that could give him a pretty strong case for ROY.