New Orleans Pelicans
Holy cigarettes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a lot of value for falling straight back to No. 8. In most years, trading out of their top five of the draft could be a remarkably risky move since draft value tends to fall off a cliff in the No. 6 selection. However, this isn’t most years; we’ve been hearing for weeks that the 2019 draft supposed to become unusually shallow following Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin obviously felt he could slide back four slots out of No. 4 and still receive the player he desired, center Jaxson Hayes.
Utilizing ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick point system to help set transactions like these in view, the Pelicans obtained 3,560 points in draft pick worth (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 for No. 35) compared to 2,450 points heading into Atlanta (2,440 to get No. 4; 10 to get No. 57). That’s a humongous gap in value. In addition to this, the Pelicans shed Solomon Hill’s $13 million contract. On top of that, the Pelicans obtained Cleveland’s 2020 first-round pick, which will likely turn into a pair of second-rounders.
This is a heist by Griffin, who continues to run a clinic in his opening salvo. I am not in love with all the Hayes selection at No. 8. He is a big pick-and-roll dunker in the Tyson Chandler mould, which is a great fit on many rosters. However, the Pelicans want shooters about Williamson to reevaluate his athleticism and Hayes hasn’t shown any variety outside the paint.
The good news is that Hayes has a really good stroke in the free throw line (74 percent last year at Texas), therefore that he could possibly stretch out and develop a jumper. With that said, Lonzo Ball may shatter the lob record with Williamson and Hayes running at the rim. Sheesh.
By making the transaction with Atlanta, the Pelicans have carved out about $30 million in cap space, which they can use to purchase more selections down the line or bring in certain shooting ability to free up more room for the kids. Don’t be shocked if Griffin brings in Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin at Phoenix, to help coach up the locker area and bring into a 3-and-D presence on the wing.
Oh, and by the way, they drafted the very best prospect since LeBron James.