The New Orleans Pelicans 2018-2019 NBA season ended in turmoil. The Pelicans fell below expectations, finishing 33-49. Most would cite Anthony Davis’ injuries and controversy as the main reasons for the Pelicans’ lack of success. They struck gold in the NBA Draft Lottery. They have the first overall pick. Also, they recently acquired the fourth overall pick from the Los Angeles Lakers. Who will the Pelicans select? What other players should be on their radar? Let’s predict their draft targets.
2019 NBA Draft Targets for the New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans Draft Needs
With Davis trade rumors swirling, the Pelicans need a new franchise player to build around. They need a player who will bring excitement to the organization and the city of New Orleans. Also, they need wing players who can stretch the floor, especially at small forward. Things could get worse for them this offseason. Power forward Julius Randle could opt out of his current deal and hit the free agent market. Randle’s exit will leave a huge hole in their plans.
The Pelicans have the first overall pick. Their selection will most likely be former Duke phenom, Zion Williamson. Williamson is ranked above early NBA draft prospects. He is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and a franchise player. Drafting Williamson would instantly garner interest in the Pelicans for next season. This move makes sense for marketing. Season tickets sales will soar.
Another option would be to trade the first overall pick. There are a lot of teams that would covet Williamson and would give a boatload to the Pelicans for him. The New York Knicks would be the ideal trade partner. They would receive the third overall pick in addition to other players from the Knicks in return. They can select former Duke star R.J. Barrett, who can develop into a great wing player. However, this scenario is very unlikely given Williamson’s potential.
With the fourth overall pick, the Pelicans should look at Darius Garland from Vanderbilt. Although his season was cut short due to injury, he proved to be a deadly shooter, especially from three-point range. Another player the Pelicans should target is De’Andre Hunter from Virginia. He is a seasoned player who will do wonders for them defensively. Hunter will be a rebounding machine. His elite athleticism and skills could propel him to being a steal of this draft class.
The Pelicans also have the thirty-ninth and fifty-seventh pick in the second round. The draft field is will be very thin by the second. But there are some players they can look at. For the thirty-ninth pick, center Jontay Porter from Missouri should be a target. He is a very skilled stretch player, which could fill the void of Davis and Randle. The biggest question for Porter is his health. He missed the entire season before declaring for the draft. With the fifty-seventh pick, the Pelicans should target Jordan Bone from Tennessee. Bone had a solid junior year and was selected to the All-SEC Second Team. Bone averaged 13.5 points per game and 5.8 assists per game, which both were career-highs.
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