DRAFT TRADE: Acquired future second-round pick and cash considerations from Jazz in exchange for Elijah Hughes (No. 39 pick)

DRAFT TRADE: Acquired 2024 second-round pick from Hornets in exchange for Nick Richards (No. 42 pick)

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The Pelicans played their best in January and February, compiling a record of 15-10. They ranked first in points and assists per game. So clearly, offense isn’t the problem with two players -- Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson -- averaging 23.8 and 22.5 ppg, respectively, followed by Jrue Holiday at 19.1 ppg. The Pelicans do tend to get sloppy and finished the season after a disappointing performance in the bubble ranked 29th in turnovers and 28th in opponent fast-break points on the way to a 21st-ranked defensive rating (111.6). These issues can’t really be addressed through the Draft, although the hiring of new coach Stan Van Gundy certainly helps. New Orleans needs to just focus on cohesion while adding to the overall talent.

A Stat That Matters
21.7 -- Zion Williamson averaged 21.7 points in the paint per 36 minutes, the highest rate for any player (minimum 500 minutes played) in the 24 seasons for which points in the paint have been tracked.
-- John Schuhmann

The Way To Go
Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin made shrewd moves to put the team in their current position with no glaring holes on the roster and plenty of picks to add to an already impressive collection of young talent. Griffin bolstered that by hiring Van Gundy, whose prior teams ranked in the top 10 in defensive ratings in nine of his 12 seasons as a coach. New Orleans can afford to take a risk on a project such as French point guard Theo Maledon or Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa. The Pelicans could also take the safe route with a player like Villanova’s Saddiq Bey.

Under Contract
G: Nickeil Alexander-Walker

G: Lonzo Ball
G: Josh Hart
G: Jrue Holiday
G: JJ Redick
F: Nicolo Melli
F: Darius Miller
F: Zion Williamson
F/C: Jaxson Hayes

Free Agents
G: Frank Jackson (restricted)
G: E’Twaun Moore (unrestricted)
G/F: Kenrich Williams (restricted)
F: Derrick Favors (unrestricted)
F: Brandon Ingram (restricted)

F/C: Jahlil Okafor (unrestricted)
>2020 Free Agent Tracker

Recent Draft History

2019: Zion Williamson (1), Jaxson Hayes (8)*, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17)*, Marcos Louzada Silva (35)*
2018: Tony Carr (51)
2017: Frank Jackson (31)* 

* = acquired via trade

-- Michael C. Wright