(left to right) Dell Demps, Buddy Hield, Cheick Diallo, Alvin Gentry at Friday's press conference

Pelicans draft receives nearly straight As on Internet report cards

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Time to take a trip around the Internet to see how the New Orleans Pelicans fared on draft report cards from various sites (comments are from the respective media sources, condensed in some cases for length):

CBSSports.com (A): “The Pelicans get one of the guys they've wanted all along in Hield, a terrific shooter and scorer out of Oklahoma. He’s also the kind of marketable player that New Orleans needs down there. He and Anthony Davis should be a really nice fit. (Diallo is a) nice upside pick here for the Pelicans in getting Diallo, as he could fit well inside with Anthony Davis. Makes sense to consolidate two picks for one and get the guy you like.

Yahoo Ball Don’t Lie (A): “The Pelicans weren’t exactly drafting for need – or, at least, they shouldn’t have been at No. 6 – but adding a lights-out shooter like Hield will be music to the ears of New Orleans fans that have had to watch the dribble-dribble-dribble stylings of guards Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon for too long. Gordon’s status as a free agent should allow the Oklahoma senior to step right in and start firing away." 

ESPN.com (A minus): “The Pelicans filled two big needs in the draft. With Eric Gordon heading into free agency, they desperately needed a shooter and Hield gives them an elite one. His work ethic and leadership should make him a great fit in New Orleans. I preferred Jamal Murray for them because of his relative youth and versatility, but Hield was a very good option. And I really like Diallo at 33. He started the season ranked No. 11 on our Big Board, and had he stayed in school another year, I think he would've been a high pick next season. He's got one of the best motors in the draft. If he rebounds, defends and blocks, he can have a long career in the NBA. Anything he gives on offense is a bonus.”

BleacherReport.com (A minus): “Buddy Hield may be older (22) than many of the other top prospects in this draft, but he used his experience with the Oklahoma Sooners to develop into a dangerous scorer. The lanky shooting guard knocked down 50.1 percent of his shots from the field and 45.7 percent of his three-point attempts as a senior, all while scoring 25.0 points per game… The Pelicans traded Nos. 39 and 40 to move up to select Cheick Diallo, which is puzzling. Though the Kansas product is a legitimate first-rounder who was still on the board early in the second, New Orleans needs extra bodies at this point in the rebuilding process. Especially with so many key players hitting free agency, it could have used the additional pick.”

NBADraft.net (A minus): “A very sound draft for New Orleans. There was a lot of expectation that they would take Jamal Murray at 6 but that was generally under the assumption Buddy Hield would be gone. Well, Hield was not gone and the Pelicans snatched him up, and while some may think that Murray was the better fit, Hield brings a star power and dynamic scoring ability that Murray does not have. He should be an interesting fit with Anthony Davis and the rest of the solid pieces in the Pelicans’ starting lineup, and this very well could be the move that finally gets this franchise back in the playoffs. Additionally, they moved their two second round picks to get a first round talent in Cheick Diallo at 33. Diallo has a lot of potential as an athletic power forward, so I definitely like this move as well. He has far more upside than just about anyone they could have gotten at 39 or 40.”

FoxSports.com (A minus): “Hield is the type of player who should be able to step in and immediately get points in the NBA, while Diallo is a ‘hustle and energy’ guy who can help Davis on the boards. The Pelicans aren’t a true contender in the West yet (or anything close), but they took a step in the right direction.”

USAToday.com (B): “Hield was one of the best players in all of college basketball last season, but now comes a whole new test. He's a knock down shooter who can spread the floor for All-Star forward Anthony Davis, and his year-by-year improvements at Oklahoma are encouraging, but — behind guys like Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday — is he enough of an all-around talent to make an immediate impact for the lowly Pelicans?”

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