Final Mock Draft: New Orleans Pelicans in Position to Grab a Floor General

Published: June 27, 2013

In less than 12 hours, we will know for sure, but as of right now, here is my best bet at how tonight goes down:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, F/C, Kentucky

How crazy is it that on the morning of the draft, we have no idea who is going first overall? In years past, there was a tiny bit of speculation. Some whispers were out there that the Cavs could take Derrick Williams, but for the most part we knew they were going with Kyrie. Honestly, I can’t remember a year where we were this unsure of who we were going number one since Michael Olowokandi went first overall in 1998.

While the speculation has been Len and Noel for a while, word is that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert loves Oladipo and their head coach Mike Brown loves Anthony Bennett. You can probably throw Otto Porter into the mix as well, and heck, lets toss in Ben McLemore for good measure. At the end of the day, though, I think GM Chris Grant goes with the guy that he thinks has the biggest upside, and that’s Nerlens Noel. Grant is a huge fan of analytics, and most of the advanced numbers point to Noel being the guy who has the best chance to become a star in this class. For that reason, I say the Cavs go with Noel.

2. Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana

The Magic’s draft could hinge on a reported trade that they are working on with the Clippers that features Aaron Afflalo and Eric Bledsoe switching teams. For now, the trade appears dead, but lets not forget how the Clippers operate. How many times did that Doc Rivers deal “die?” If Bledsoe is brought in to be the PG of the future, the Magic can cross Trey Burke off their list and take the best player available. If that happens, I expect the choice to come down to Oladipo, McLemore, and Bennett. Coach Jacque Vaughn will be banging the table for Oladipo here, and I think he gets his wish. If those two moves go down, the Magic have a nice little core of Bledsoe, Oladipo, Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Nikola Vucevic moving forward. Not too shabby.

3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, F, Georgetown

Since the night of the lottery, when the Wizards jumped up to the third spot, the speculation has been that either Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett will be the pick here. Honestly, I think it can go either way, and I think this selection effects the Pelicans more than any other. If Porter gets past Washington, I think he falls to six and Dell would call the pick in the second Phoenix made their selection. But in my mock draft, I see Porter going to Washington to give Beal and Wall another guy to play off of and to give them a long perimeter defender who can guard multiple positions.

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

The last time a Charlotte franchise could throw the ball down into the low post and get a bucket was back in 1994 when the team was called the Hornets. Now that the team that resides there is getting the name back, it might be time to go after a low post scorer again. Like Cavs GM Chris Grant, Bobcats GM Rich Cho is an analytics guy and Bennett’s numbers simply look better than Alex Len’s, and I think that will be the deciding factor.

5. Phoenix Suns – Cody Zeller, F/C, Indiana

There is always a shocker early on. Last year it came at four when the Cavs selected Dion Waiters. This year, it will come at number 5, as the Suns will take Cody Zeller, projected by some to go much later in the lottery. Zeller is an ideal big man in an uptempo offense, and with Phoenix talking about playing Dragic and Kendall Marshall together more next season, they might actually increase their pace. Zeller is a high IQ guy who fits their scheme, and was productive in college, all things that new GM Ryan McDonough is looking for.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

No need to go back and check; you are reading this right. With Ben McLemore and Alex Len still on the board, the New Orleans Pelicans select: Trey Burke. Our own Mason Ginsberg has good reason to believe that the only guys ahead of Burke on the board are Victor Oladipo, Nerlens Noel, and Otto Porter, Jr. Since they are all gone in this scenario, Trey Burke is the pick. Burke’s character appears to be a huge deciding factor, and perhaps the tiebreaker between he and McLemore, while the need for stability in the team’s back court gives Burke the nod over Len.

As for Burke, he gives the Pelicans a floor general who would ideally get them into their sets quicker and give them more options in the pick and roll. The defense would need some work, but honestly that can be said for every rookie, this year or any other. Burke is a safe pick at this point, unlikely to fail due to his already diverse skill set and coachability. Len and McLemore, meanwhile, have more upside but also have the potential to make the team who drafted them regret it.

Notes and Observations

– I have run this draft a hundred different ways and almost every time we come out with either Otto Porter or Trey Burke. There is a 1-in-100 scenario that could see Oladipo fall to six, but that is still so hard to imagine. Or, maybe Burke goes 2 and Porter goes 3, in which case the Pelicans would likely take a chance on McLemore. If they were to do that, they would need to add some serious veteran leadership in the locker room to help steer McLemore, who is a good kid, but somewhat naive and easily persuaded.

– Rumors came out yesterday that the Cavs offered the #1 pick for #6, Greivis Vasquez, and our 2014 pick. Those rumors were quickly denied by both parties, but it is a fascinating scenario. Personally, I would do it under two conditions: 1.) The pick in 2014 is top-3 protected and 2.) Dell selects Victor Oladipo at #1. Again, it is extremely unlikely, but if that was the trade and Oladipo was the pick, I would be a happy man.

– I know that whoever the Pelicans pick, unless it is Otto Porter, there will be a rush from readers to suggest trades involving players that play the same position as the draft pick. Please don’t overreact. Remember, this is a 19 or 20 year old that we are selecting. There is no rush, and there is no guarantee he will receive significant minutes. McLemore does not mean Gordon is gone, nor does selecting Burke mean that you waive goodbye to Vasquez to open up 35 minutes for a young point guard just two years removed from his high school graduation. The Pelicans are adding talent. That is it. Down the line, if all of that talent matures, yes they will likely move pieces that overlap for other pieces that fit holes. But they aren’t going to go out of their way to unload guys who have proven they can play in this league just because they drafted a young guy who might be good in a couple of years.

– Honestly, nobody knows how this draft will shake out, and that is a great thing! People have tweeted me that they “Just want to get to Thursday night already!” But I say we should enjoy today. Don’t rush it. Think of August and how there is nothing to talk about. Football hasn’t started yet. Free agency is done in basketball. Not even a summer league game. If you want to rush through any period of time, rush through that month. Not today.



    June 27, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Trey Burke drafted, then Vasquez and Lopez Later on the FA time period for Andre Drummond, after July Trade EG & Brian Roberts for PHO current DP and Kendall Marshall. Sign Josh Smith or maybe Monta Ellis or maybe both if we have enough money. After that Pelicans can sign who they I’m Satisfied enough for those off-season moves right there.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      NOS3RDGEN  I love the Drummond idea, and I’m not one for trading Vasquez.

  2. jsl05

    June 27, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Wow, I’m not surprised about passing on McLemore; but I’m extremely surprised about Len.  Did Mason talk to a Pelicans source or something?  That’s what it sounds like.

  3. MikeDatTiger

    June 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I don’t know if the Oladipo scenario is so crazy, especially with Woj tweeting that Wiz are split between Porter and Bennett and that Charlotte likes Zeller, as does Phoenix. I think it’d go like this:
    1. Len
    2. Noel (I think Magic really Noel as a way to tank for 2014. Great upside + ping pong balls is irresistible if he’s there).
    3. Bennett (or even really Porter)
    4. Zeller
    5. McElmore
    6. Oladipo.
    The nice thing about this scenario is that’s not totally off from the rumors and has some flexibility. For example, the Suns could easily pick Porter at 5. We could also see a 3. Porter, 4. McElmore 5. Zeller
    I do think the scenario is contingent on Len and Noel going 1 2.

  4. Houpgarou

    June 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

    my gut says..
    1. mclemoere
    2. oladipo
    3. bennett
    4. len
    5. noel
    6. porter
    my personal wishlist mclemore, dipo, porter, mccollum, burke in that order
    still hope we get that dallas pick because i’d love to roll the dice on schroeder (or mcw) especially if we don’t get a pg early

  5. Michael McNamara

    June 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I feel like there is a good chance Oladipo will be there at number 4. If he is, and Charlotte likes Zeller and Bennett, Dell has to call them and swap picks. Give up Lopez or take a bad contract back, whatever. Get me Oladipo!

    • Houpgarou

      June 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Michael McNamara  
      I would be 100% for that and feel the same if mclemore slipped to that point and dipo were picked.  As far as his naivety concerns, our whole locker room is made up of choirboys, and we have a half head coach / half life coach in monty

    • jsl05

      June 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

      GV, Ro-Lo, 6, lottery-protected 2014 for Oladipo

      • Houpgarou

        June 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

         How about….
        Portland gets gordon, lopez, #6, cleveland #1 (2014)

        Cavs get lamarcus, vasquez

        We get zeller, #1 and #10 (ideally mccollum)

        cleveland land their primary target with a bonus in vasquez.  Portland satisfies aldridge’s desire to leave with a nice package.
        for us is that too small a haul to to empty our cupboard for? We give up all our expendables but at least do it early enough to have crazy flexibility for further trades / fagents.

      • jsl05

        June 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        Too much for Cleveland to give up. Gordon has negative value. CJ won’t get past 7. It’s too good for us.

  6. Houpgarou

    June 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

    and I would definitely visit scenarios to trade up for mclemore, maybe #6 and top 3 protected 2015 if cavs come to their senses

  7. bigindian

    June 27, 2013 at 10:46 am

    If McLemore is still on the board, why wouldn’t be select him and trade him later?  A team like Minnesota (or maybe Philly) would definitely want him, and we could still select McCollum or something.

  8. Papa Pelican

    June 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Christmas day just 6 months early.

  9. josephplum

    June 27, 2013 at 11:19 am

    It just seems like PG is the easiest “position” to fill, and the hardest to tell from the draft who is who. It doesn’t seem as though we KNOW that Burke is going to be good any more than we know some other guy isn’t. There are surprises all the time, and I’d rather bring in a known quantity as a floor general than take a risk there. If a player with some size doesn’t pan out, he still might be an asset, but if Burke busts, the Pelicans get jack. This looks cute: 
    I believe we, the Pelican Parish, have a greater need at the wings, anyway. We have fine enough stopgaps in Roberts and Vasquez, and these days all kinds of guys bring the ball up the floor and initiate offense. A designated QB is nice to have, but Gordon doesn’t work, and we don’t even have a starting 3 signed, right? Always draft the best player available. As long as Burke doesn’t do anything to disrupt the team, I’m not sure that I care about his “character/upbringing,” unless he has the homicidal will to win like Jordan, Thomas, or Bryant.

    • josephplum

      June 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      after reading the si article by Rosenberg, I’ll change my tune. I guess Burke does have the killer potential. I trust DellMonty’s judgement about basketball more than my own anyway.

  10. Houpgarou

    June 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    ok, so everyone says cleveland is shopping for a high upside young vet on the trading block.  we happen to have a couple of those and if there’s any factual basis on that trade rumor from yesterday, seems like we’d be able to common ground from there.  guess they have no interest in gordon though it seems they would.

  11. Caffeinedisaster

    June 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I know Dell will do what is best.  I’ll just sit back, drink heavily and await the outcome.

  12. Pelicans3fan3

    June 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Awwww, not writing a post for CJ? What happened to yesterday’s conspiracy theory you got me excited about?

    • Michael McNamara

      June 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Pelicans3fan3 Intel trumps conspiracy theory. 
      That info was purposely leaked because I was getting too close!!!
      Back to the conspiracy theory!!!!

  13. SpeedyPelican

    June 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Been looking forward to this off season and this draft ever since the last Dallas game. HONESTLY hopeing EG gets traded . and we pick up VO or Ben Mclemore.  Worst comes to worst ill be fine with Burke but if we have the ability to take 1 of the 2 Sg’s we better. #INDELLWETRUST

  14. BowToTheBill23

    June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Looks like I have about 4 more hours of being a Burke “hater” or skeptic. If and when he’s drafted by us, I’ll become his biggest fan. And I hope he becomes #3. I hope we call him TB3. And I hope we go “WHOOOOO” after ever score/assist. As a fan, I really want us to win (which is why I prefer mclemore and Len) but what good is it if its not fun? So if trey Burke is a pelican tonight, I will never root against him. Go pels.

  15. mazonmafia

    June 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    1. Noel 2. McLemore 3. Porter 4. Bennett 5. Len 6. OLADIPO 7. Zeller
    Trade for Marion, #13 ….. Trade #13 and Gordon …for… #8
    8. BURKE
    Trade 2014 1st round (top 3 protected) and Vasquez …for… MKG
    C – Lopez, Smith    PF – Davis, Anderson, Thomas
    SF – MKG, Marion, Aminu (back for cheap)    SG – Oladipo, Rivers, Miller    PG – Burke, Roberts
    Cap Room === UNLIMITED!!!   with a defensive core of Davis, MKG, Oladipo, Burke (his def is underrated).  Some size in the frontcourt and shooting along the wings would still be needed but I love this all rookie/sophomore team.

    • Papa Pelican

      June 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Who’s MKG?

      • mazonmafia

        June 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        Papa Pelican Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, SF for the Bobcats, top pick last year, great long defender and Anthony Davis’ old teammate at Kentucky

      • Papa Pelican

        June 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        Oh i forgot

  16. mazonmafia

    June 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Michael McNamara do you happen to know the trade restrictions for Eric Gordon off the top of your head?  I have heard different things floating around that we can’t trade him until mid July. Is this true and are there ways around this by working the system?

    • Papa Pelican

      June 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      He can be traded anywhere except Phoenix but with his permission and on July 14th he can be traded anywhere without his permission because July 14th is one year of his re-signing.

      • mazonmafia

        June 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        Papa Pelican Thanks!

  17. HollisBuckeye21

    June 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Excited for tonight. I have seen mock drafts with us taking so many different people, although the majority is for Trey Burke which I would fully support. There was not as much excitement in regards to the unpredictability last year. Davis was beyond obvious. And, everything seemed to be Rivers at 10, since Lillard was climbing and it seemed like Drummond would not fall quite that far.
    This time, I can see around 8ish different guys in a Pelicans uniform after tonight, some more likely than others, but still, pretty crazy. Just please. PLEASE. Don’t let Anthony Bennett somehow end up in New Orleans after tonight. That’s all I ask.

  18. CoReMeGa

    June 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I just read that we’re between Burke and MCW… really really really hope we don’t take MCW with this pick!

  19. mazonmafia

    June 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Too many options!! Trade for pick 7 8 or 9 please!

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