New Orleans Pelicans
Holy cigarettes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin web a ton of value for dropping straight back to No. 8. In most years, trading from the top five of the draft could be an incredibly risky move since draft value tends to fall off a cliff at the No. 6 pick. However, this isn’t most years; we’ve been hearing for weeks that the 2019 draft projected to be remarkably shallow after Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin obviously felt that he could slide back four slots out of No. 4 and still receive the player he wanted, center Jaxson Hayes.
Using ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick point system to help set transactions like these in view, the Pelicans received 3,560 points in draft select value (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 for No. 35) in comparison to 2,450 points heading to Atlanta (2,440 for No. 4; 10 for No. 57). That’s a humongous difference in value. On top of that, the Pelicans drop Solomon Hill’s $13 million contract. On top of that, the Pelicans obtained Cleveland’s 2020 first-round pick, which will probably become a set of second-rounders.
This is a heist by Griffin, who proceeds to run a practice in his opening salvo. I’m not in love with all the Hayes choice at No. 8. He’s a large pick-and-roll dunker in the Tyson Chandler mold, which is a fantastic fit on many rosters. However, the Pelicans need shooters about Williamson to amplify his athleticism and Hayes has not shown any range outside the paint.
The good thing is that Hayes has a really good stroke at the free throw line (74 percent last season at Texas), therefore that he can possibly stretch out and produce a jumper. With that said, Lonzo Ball could shatter the lob listing 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 buy more picks down the line or bring in some shooting ability to free up more space for the kids. Don’t be shocked if Griffin earns Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin in Phoenix, to assist coach up the locker area and bring in a 3-and-D existence on the wing.
Oh, and by the way, they drafted the best prospect since LeBron James.
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