New Orleans Pelicans at the Draft Combine: Day Two

Published: May 17, 2013

A list of things that stood out on day two at the combine. To read about day one, click here.

Cody Zeller is more David Lee than Andrew Bogut

As much as Zeller hurt his stock yesterday by measuring poorly, he helped himself today with athletic testing. There is no way he can be a traditional center in the NBA, but he tested very similar to David Lee coming out of college, so he can be an athletic power forward and an occasional small ball center. Remember, David Lee was very raw coming out of college and took time to develop his face up game. Zeller is further along at this point, so it is not crazy to think that he can become a fringe All-Star in a league that values offense, but don’t expect him to change the game on defense.

All that being said, David Lee put up those numbers and had a similar season production wise at UF and still went 30th overall. Zeller definitely helped himself, but he didn’t play as athletic as the numbers he posted today, so GM’s will take that into account. At the end of the day he might not fall out of the top 20 (I thought that was a real possibility after yesterday), but I don’t expect him to be the top-10 pick that seemed like a lock two months ago either. He should fall somewhere in between.

Steven Adams Will Fool Somebody

Adams followed up his great day yesterday with another good one today, and some GM will get sucked in. The guy did NOTHING at Pittsburgh, despite being a legit 7-footer in a conference that lacked size last year. He averaged 7 and 6, but even those numbers were inflated. He only scored in double digits five times in the regular season. His opponents? Deleware, Deleware State, Bethune-Cookman, Fordham, and Cincinnati. Only four games with double digit rebounds, and three of them came against scrub teams as well. One team will talk itself into taking Adams way too high, justifying it by saying Andre Drummond didn’t do much in college either, but Drummond was a freak athlete. Adams is not that.

Trey Burke finished in the Middle of a Very Impressive Point Guard Class

The point guard class this year is one for the ages, at least athletically. While Trey Burke had the best year out of all of them on the court, he was only so-so when it came to the physical testing today. He had a solid standing vertical of 29.5″, but his lane agility time was below average and as I pointed out in last week’s Missing Piece, that was going to be huge for him. You look at his main competitor for the #1 point guard spot Michael Carter-Williams, and MCW just blew him away. I looked over all the participants in the last ten years and when you factor in the measurables and the athletic testing, the closest comparison for Burke is Chris Quinn while the closest comparison for MCW is Jrue Holiday. Now, on the court still matters more, but remember that teams are drafting for the long term, not tomorrow. Tyreke Evans was far better than Holiday in their rookie seasons, but Holiday is the All-Star now. Just something to keep in mind. In fact, according to one Hoopsworld reporter who spoke with GM’s, he found at least four teams that said they would take MCW over Burke right now. Burke had the better season, MCW had the better combine. Individual workouts will decide this battle.

Other News and Notes

– Yesterday, I said Gobert could move into the #2 center spot if he ran a decent time in the agility drill. He finished dead last among centers at 12.85. That is similar to guys like Brooke Lopez and Jared Sullinger. His vert and sprint numbers were also poor. When a guy has a reach of 9’7″, he doesn’t have to be an elite athlete to protect the rim, but now that the NBA is so much pick and roll/pick and pop, he can be exposed on defense. On a positive note, Gobert was actually 2nd amongst bigs in the spot-up shooting portion, so he has some serious potential there.

– Victor Oladipo tested better than Dwayne Wade in the athletic drills. He is actually very similar to Iman Shumpert coming out, and I think Shumpert is a great comparison defensively. Shumpert on defense and Wilson Chandler on offense is Oladipo’s floor, while I still believe Dwayne Wade is his ceiling. Can’t imagine Dell passing on this guy if he is still on the board when the Pelicans pick.

– Otto Porter is starting to lose momentum and Ryan Schwan has pointed out several times on the podcast that there is always a guy who slides way down this time of year, and usually it is a productive wing who doesn’t exactly wow in the pre-draft tests and workouts. I don’t think that will happen to Porter this year, but I never thought Danny Granger or Kawhi Leonard would fall as far as they did. Porter’s weight is an issue, and his standing vertical and sprint time was unimpressive as well. He had one great year at Georgetown, but lost in the first round to a 15 seed and had a poor game in the tournament. I am not saying he will fall, but if you told me that one guy from the top six or seven in most mocks would fall down to the teens and made me guess who it was, I would pick Porter.

– On the flip side, as long time reader Eric Ingis emailed me, there are always guys projected to go mid to late 1st this time of year who shoot up into the lottery. If I had to guess who those guys could be this year, I would say CJ Leslie, Giannis Adetokoubo, and Allen Crabbe all have a chance to be ‘that guy’ this year. Also, Caldwell-Pope could go from a guy that is a fringe lottery pick to someone who goes in the top six, similar to what we saw from Waiters and Lillard last year.

– Supposedly the whispers are that the Jazz are obsessed with CJ McCollum. If the Pelicans fall to six or seven and don’t love anybody on the board, trading with the Jazz wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The Jazz have picks 14 and 21 plus several nice young pieces on rookie contracts.

– People seem a little worried because Monty said that the Pelicans would draft for need this year over BPA. Personally, I disagree with that strategy 100 out of 100 times, but look again at what he really said. “We’re at a point now where we go by need and we’re trying to fulfill those needs as opposed to just taking best talent. Now if the need is gone, then you take the best player.”

Isn’t that the same as saying that if all things are equal, he will take the player at a position they need? He says that if the need is gone, he will take BPA. So, it’s kind of a backwards way of saying the same thing everyone else says, at least that is the way I read it. Unless he literally means that they will only draft a player at a position of strength if every single draft eligible player at a position of need is off the board. The bigger question is what do the Pelicans think their needs are. Small forward, obviously. But do they think center is a need? How about point guard?  Better yet, if they anticipate moving Gordon eventually, is shooting guard a need? I think you can at least argue that every position other than power forward could be considered a need, so it is a moot point anyway.

– Draft Lottery is Tuesday night, but before then you will have one more Missing Piece tomorrow and a Live Video Chat with the Bourbon Street Shots crew to get you ready for the big night that will kick off an incredible offseason.


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