Making Sense of Draft Prospects

We’re just over a week removed from the NBA Draft Lottery, under a month away from the NBA Draft itself, and the New Orleans Pelicans have been busy. You’ve seen, and will see, the team linked to a multitude of potential prospects for the 40th pick in the NBA draft.

This is all to be expected. But what has been odd is the fact that a lot of the players the Pelicans have been linked to do not rank or grade very highly. Players such as Charles Cooke James Blackmon Jr, Maverick Rowan, Antonio Blakeney, Austin Nichols, Malcolm Bernard, Devin Carter, as reported by Alex Kennedy, are barely considered top 100 prospects at best.

The reason why is twofold. First, the NBA Draft early entrant withdrawal deadline is June 12th. You’ll see some many underclassmen withdraw then and head back to college. This will could increase the rankings of certain players the Pelicans have scouted—potentially giving them an advantage over other teams.

Second and most importantly, is the Pelicans are, most likely, scouting these guys to add to their Summer League team. With the team potentially limited by the salary cap in free agency, players on the Summer League team will get a serious look and chance to make the opening day roster.

So, what are the Pelicans looking for? It’s a one word answer: Shooting.

The Pelicans need shooting and off ball movement, but it might be too much to expect an undrafted rookie to know when to time a cut, let along expect them to finish at the rim. But looking for a knockdown three-point shooter is a realistic option. Almost all of the names listed above are backcourt players who shot well from deep in their college careers.

Pay attention to the names you see the Pelicans linked with in the lead up to the NBA Draft. You’ll almost assuredly see them again.

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