New Orleans Pelicans
Holy smokes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a lot of value for falling back to No. 8. In most years, trading out of 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 selection. But this is not most years; we’ve been hearing for weeks that the 2019 draft projected to become unusually shallow following Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin clearly felt that he could slide back four slots from 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 such as these in view, the Pelicans received 3,560 points in draft pick 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 for No. 4; 10 to get No. 57). That is a humongous gap in value. On top of that, the Pelicans drop Solomon Hill’s $13 million contract. On top of this, the Pelicans obtained Cleveland’s 2020 first-round choice, which will likely become a set of second-rounders.
This is a heist by Griffin, who proceeds to conduct a practice in his opening salvo. I am 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 around Williamson to amplify his athleticism and Hayes hasn’t shown any range away from the paint.
The good thing is that Hayes has a really good stroke at the free throw line (74 percent last season at Texas), so he can possibly stretch out and produce a jumper. With that said, Lonzo Ball may shatter the lob listing with Williamson and Hayes running at the rim. Sheesh.
By making the trade with Atlanta, the Pelicans have carved out about $30 million in cap space, which they may use to purchase more selections down online or earn some shooting ability to free up more room for the children. Do not be shocked if Griffin earns Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin at Phoenix, to assist coach up the locker area and deliver in a 3-and-D presence on the wing.
Oh, and by the way, they drafted the very best prospect because LeBron James.