New Orleans Pelicans
Holy smokes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a ton of value for dropping back to No. 8. In the majority of years, trading from the top five of this draft would be a remarkably risky move because draft worth will drop off a cliff at the No. 6 selection. However, this is not most years; we’ve been hearing for months that the 2019 draft projected to be remarkably shallow after Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin clearly felt that he could slide back four slots from No. 4 and still get the player he desired, center Jaxson Hayes.
Using ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick platform system to help set transactions like these in view, the Pelicans obtained 3,560 points in draft select value (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 to get No. 35) compared to 2,450 points going into Atlanta (2,440 to get No. 4; 10 to get No. 57). That is a humongous gap in value. In addition to this, the Pelicans shed Solomon Hill’s $13 million deal. In addition to this, the Pelicans received Cleveland’s 2020 first-round pick, which will probably become a pair of second-rounders.
This is a heist by Griffin, who proceeds to conduct a practice in his opening salvo. I’m not in love with the Hayes selection at No. 8. He is a big pick-and-roll dunker from the Tyson Chandler mould, which is a great fit on most rosters. But the Pelicans need shooters about Williamson to amplify his athleticism and Hayes has not shown any range away from the paint.
The fantastic news is that Hayes has a excellent stroke at the free throw line (74 percent last year at Texas), so he can maybe stretch out and develop a jumper. That said, Lonzo Ball could shatter the lob listing with Williamson and Hayes running in the rim. Sheesh.
By making the transaction with Atlanta, the Pelicans have dug out roughly $30 million in cap space, which they can use to purchase more selections down online or earn some shooting talent to free up more space for the children. Do not be surprised if Griffin brings in Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin in Phoenix, to help coach up the locker room and bring into a 3-and-D presence around the wing.
Oh, and incidentally they drafted the best prospect since LeBron James.