Post lottery and combine Pelicans mock draft round-up

May 12, 2024; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas’ Johnny Furphy NBA  at the Draft Lottery at McCormick Place
May 12, 2024; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas’ Johnny Furphy NBA at the Draft Lottery at McCormick Place / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's NBA Draft lottery was one of the most head-scratching of all-time. The Atlanta Hawks earned the pyrrhic victory of jumping all the way up to the number one pick with the 10th best odds in what is potentialy the worst draft in the modern era. The 2024 draft class has garnered comparisons to the 2013 draft, where Anthony Bennett went number one overall to the Cavaliers just to be spurned from the league a few years later.

The Pelicans don't own a lottery pick, but Sunday's drawing still impacts what happens ahead of New Orleans two potential selections in the 2024 draft.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the NBA ran their annual combine that saw dozens of draft prospect strutting their stuff in front of countless executives, coaches, and scouts from across the league. Some players saw their stock drop when their measurables were released (Rob Dillingham), and others saw their stock rise when their sneakers hit the hardwood for drills (Zach Edey).

All of these happenings have seen draft projections changed, and the Pelicans draft prospects are coming into focus. Stay tuned to Pelican Debrief for a breakdown of prospects as the draft nears, but today, let's dive into what the experts are projecting the Pelicans to do in the first round.

Kevin O'Connor - The Ringer

Note: O'Connor is projecting the Pelicans to exercise their swap rights with the Lakers this season and pick twice in this year's first round.

17: Kel'el Ware - Center. - Indiana

"Consider how critical Dereck Lively has been to the Mavericks, even as a rookie. Could Ware have a similar influence in New Orleans? He is a vertical threat and has flashed an ability to shoot 3s. If the Pelicans opt to keep the pick, they’d have their choice of a number of different types of bigs to support their core players and another first to select an additional contributor."

21: Carlton Carrington - Guard - Pittsburgh

"The Pelicans need to think about finding a replacement for CJ McCollum. Carrington checks all the boxes with his perimeter scoring skill and could be a worthy successor."

Ricky O'Donnell - SB Nation

17: Kel'el Ware - Center Indiana

"Ware is oozing with talent as an athletic 7-footer with a projectable jump shot, nice scoring touch inside the paint, and the ability to finish plays above the rim on both ends of the floor. After a woeful freshman year with Oregon, Ware transferred to Indiana and looked like the McDonald’s All-American scouts saw him as out of high school. His shooting potential — 42.5 percent from three-point range on 40 attempts — is enticing for teams looking for a five-out look even if his volume wasn’t all that high. Ware is so talented that he often leaves you wanting more: he doesn’t play with much force around the rim, and his motor has long been questioned. At this point in the draft, it’s worth taking a chance on Ware’s tools if he can put it all together."

21: Ja'Kobe Walter - Guard - Baylor

"At 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan, Walter is an off-ball wing who can space the floor and defend bigger guards. He’s a smart relocater around the three-point line, and got up an impressive 220 three-point attempts as a freshman at Baylor even if his accuracy wained. Walter ended the year at 34.1 percent from three, which is disappointing after a hot start, but his volume combined with his 79 percent free throw mark should give teams confidence he’ll shoot it in the league. Walter doesn’t have great burst as a ball handler which caps his creation ability, and he can get overpowered defensively by stronger wings off the bounce. He doesn’t have the most exciting skill set, but it’s still one every team needs."

Jeremy Woo - ESPN

21: Yves Missi - Baylor

"New Orleans has a need for more athleticism at the 5, and while Missi would be a project, he might help address that in the long run. Missi's size, tools and flashes of scoring ability piqued enough interest from scouts to vault him into the draft, but there are some lingering questions about his overall feel and lack of high-level experience. He'd likely benefit from G League time, but the right organization might be able to mold him into a useful rim-running big."