New Orleans Pelicans
Holy cigarettes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a lot of value for dropping back to No. 8. In most years, trading from the top five of the draft could be an incredibly risky move because draft value tends to drop off a cliff in the No. 6 pick. But this is not most years; we have been hearing for months that the 2019 draft projected to become unusually shallow after Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin obviously felt that he could slide back four slots from No. 4 and still get the player he desired, center Jaxson Hayes.
Utilizing ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick point system to help set transactions such as these in view, the Pelicans obtained 3,560 points in draft select worth (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 to get No. 35) in comparison to 2,450 points going to 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 drop Solomon Hill’s $13 million deal. On top of that, the Pelicans received Cleveland’s 2020 first-round choice, which will likely become a pair of second-rounders.
This was a heist by Griffin, who proceeds to conduct a practice in his opening salvo. I’m not in love with all the Hayes choice at No. 8. He is a large pick-and-roll dunker in the Tyson Chandler mould, which is a fantastic match on many rosters. However, the Pelicans want shooters around Williamson to reevaluate his athleticism and Hayes hasn’t shown any range outside the paint.
The good news is that Hayes has a really good stroke in the free throw line (74 percent last season at Texas), so he can maybe stretch out and develop a jumper. 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 dug out roughly $30 million in cap space, which they can use to purchase more selections down the line or earn certain shooting talent to free up more space for the children. Don’t be surprised if Griffin brings in Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin in Phoenix, to assist coach up the locker room and deliver in a 3-and-D existence on the wing.
Oh, and incidentally , they drafted the best prospect because LeBron James.
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