On the eve of the 2016 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans have a golden opportunity to build toward the future and possibly get themselves back into the postseason conversation in the 2016-17 season. The biggest reason as to why is that they have the number six pick (as of right now). The first year under former Golden State Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry left a lot to be desired and with what looks to be a strong 2016 draft class, there seems to be a lot of guys who could fall to the six spot. For the sake of this article, let’s keep it to three possible picks.
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
The Pelicans will be leaning heavily on picking players that are older, not looking at the one-and-done players that everyone else would like to have.
Why the Pelicans Should Draft Him: A consensus second team All-American at Providence this past season, Dunn has a ton of upside with a great physical build. He also had a pretty balanced game last year in the Big East averaging 16.4 points and 5.3 boards a game According to mock drafts, he’ll be taken pretty quickly, but if he drops to the six spot, it could be a steal.
Why the Pelicans Shouldn’t Draft Him: A previous injury as a person that has followed the Pelicans makes me nervous about picking him. This team has been snakebit by injuries in the last two seasons, especially with their star player Anthony Davis. Dunn had fought off an injury to his right shoulder his first two seasons at Providence. This concerns me because of the difference between the amount of games there are in the NBA as opposed to college ball. The added stress of a full season could cost the Pelicans dearly if they’re still being bit by the injury bug.
Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky
One former Wildcat has excelled in New Orleans. Why not get another?
Why the Pelicans Should Draft Him: He played under Calipari. No seriously, the head coach of the Wildcats stated that playing under him is like five years of college experience. Sure this could be trying to hype up his top dogs like Murray while making his program look like the place to be. He has been one of those one and done players that could pay immediate dividends averaging 20 points a game in 2015-16. Kid can ball like nobody’s business
Why the Pelicans Shouldn’t Draft Him: One thing that I’m really looking at is his turnover/assist ratio. It’s not a disastrous ratio as it’s only one-tenth of a point difference, but it’s still a solid point of debate based off some players who had similar results in college.
Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
The fact that he won the Wooden Award last season and isn’t projected to go in the top three in some mocks is a disgrace to one of if not the best college players last year.
Why the Pelicans Should Draft Him: Hield has an incredible range. Last season, Hield looked like Steph Curry did while he was at Davidson. Nailing threes, making it look easy from behind the line, just an all-around stud. Several LSU fans took notice to that in January when Hield led the Sooners to a big win. Some of the mocks I’ve seen have him going just before the Pels, but if he’s there, they have to take him.
Why the Pelicans Shouldn’t Draft Him: His defense is his biggest weakness. The Pelicans need to get more defensive guys and he doesn’t look like a guy that will be able to take care of business in the NBA covering players. It has improved, but the size could be a concern for this team.