Pelicans Beat: 5-on-5 on the NBA Draft

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Published: June 21, 2013

With just six days left to go until the NBA Draft, we discuss what the New Orleans Pelicans might do at number 6 and more.

1. Who are the top six players on the Pelicans’ big board?

Michael McNamara: On their board, not mine? Okay, here we go, in order: Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, MCW.

James Grayson: On the Pelicans board they have: Ben McLemore, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, Otto Porter, MCW.

Ryan Schwan: Eric Bledsoe, Arron Afflalo, Goran Dragic, Kemba Walker, Omer Asik and Thaddeus Young. Yeah, none of those are rookies – because the Pelicans are going to trade the pick.

Michael Pellissier: Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke

Joe: Gerrity: Alex Len (who I can’t quite make up my mind about), Noel, McLemore, Porter, Burke, MCW.

2. What will have a bigger impact long term for the Pelicans: The 2013 draft or the 2013 FA period?

MM: I have a feeling that Dell really hits a home run, or at least a triple, this summer. Whether it is one big fish or two very good guys who can grow with the team, I am more confident in what Dell can do with all this flexibility in a buyer’s market than I am in this draft class.

JG: 2013 FA period. They said it last off-season that they’re looking to find the “next piece to the puzzle.” In my view it will be a glue-guy. Not someone who sells glue door-to-door, but a player who makes the team gel and does the little things. This is a team in desperate need of some veteran leadership.

RS: The Free Agent period. The big fish will go to other teams. The question is whether Dell Demps can land the efficient small fish in the free agent market, or if he will Dumars the summer and spend money just to spend money. Here’s hoping if the worse happens, he keeps flexibility for cherry-picking trades.

MP: The FA period. Though the draft pick may stick around longer than the free agent or trade target, I believe Dell and Monty Williams want to establish a culture as soon as possible, and a rookie doesn’t do that. I think they’ll bring in a proven player via trade or FA who will help establish a winning mentality. This kind of environment is very important to have when you’re developing young players.

Joe: The Draft. Mainly I just don’t want to jinx Dell’s summer (something the rest of us don’t seem to care about at all!). In all seriousness I think there’s a solid amount of talent in the draft, and if things fall the right way we could be looking at picking up another long term piece of the puzzle. I’m just not sure that there’s anything to be found in free agency this year that will make as big of an impact long term.

3. Who should the Cavs take at number one?

MM: Ben McLemore. Shooting is so valuable in the new NBA and when you have a point guard who can break down defenses like Kyrie, you need to give him a kick out partner. Move Waiters back to the bench or play a three guard lineup – everyone’s doing it!

JG: Nerlens Noel. They don’t really have a dominant shot-blocker inside and if Noel can develop his pick-and-roll game then he and Kyrie can be lethal. Mike, you think the Cavs value shooters? Whatever happened to Danny Green?

RS: Otto Porter. Despite everyone tongue-bathing Kyrie Irving and proclaiming him the next superstar, he was a middling-efficiency scorer on a team that was terrible offensively, so that’s a problem. The team was also abysmal defensively and couldn’t rebound. So what do you do? Take the guy who lays a foundation of filling all the gaps, not just one or two.

MP: Nerlens Noel. The Cavs are atrocious on defense, and Noel is an excellent defensive prospect. He’s raw on offense, but he’s a great athlete who can run the floor with Kyrie and Waiters and you have to honor the lob when he’s involved in pick and rolls.

Joe: Nerlens Noel. Look, I know the Cavs want to get better immediately, but passing on the only player since 1997 to average over 50% from the field (actually 59%), 4 blocks per game, 2 steals per game, and 9 rebounds is just unwise. He’s a well rounded potential franchise player, and I’m not sure that you can pass that up at number one.

4. Which player picked outside the lottery will have the best career?

MM: Tony Snell, Jr. Again, he has the most valuable trait for a perimeter player – he is an excellent shooter. I can see him being a poor man’s Glen Rice, and I would jump all over that outside of the lottery.

JG: Sergey Karasev. I’ve watched this guy play and he’s a lethal shooter. He may not play right away but he can develop in Europe and come over later and be successful.

RS: Can I say Shabazz? Mike Muscala. He was a dominant rebounder who could block shots, draw free throws and stick the mid-range jumper. He could eventually stick as a starter on a team with a strong power forward.

MP: Reggie Bullock. He’s ready to come into the league and space the floor and rebound. Past that, I think he will develop into a plus defender. If you can rebound, defend, and shoot as a wing player, you have a spot in the league, and I think he will wind up being a very good role player.

Joe: Glenn Rice Jr. He’s trying to make history by being the first D-League player ever drafted in the first round, but when it’s all said and done we’ll wonder why it took so long to hear his name called. He can shoot (38% from the NBA three-point line), slash and grab boards. Rice is also coming off a D-League championship series where he was the the best player on the court, averaging 29 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks per game.

5. Which likely lottery pick will be the biggest bust?

MM: Anthony Bennett. The guy can’t make it through 30-40 game seasons against boys; how in the heck is he going to make it through 82 game seasons against men. The last three years for him have ended with fairly significant injuries. It will be the same in the NBA. He will be the next Jonathan Bender – all the potential in the world, but he won’t be able to stay on the court.

JG: Alex Len. He’s going to be injured all the time and if he continues to injure his legs his shot-blocking will be less impactful. I don’t see why people are so enamoured with him because he has decent touch around the basket. Just because he’s seven feet and can hit the occasional hook-shot doesn’t mean he’s a franchise guy.

RS: Steven Adams. Every year someone drafts a big with good measurements and less game than my seven year old between 10 and 14. Every year, that big man is garbage. Adams is the second worst rebounding center prospect in this draft. He’d rank 12th among the power forwards. He can’t catch the ball. His percentage finishing at the rim is weak. he shoots 44% from the free throw line. Give me a break. I don’t care how fast he runs and how high he jumps, he can’t play basketball.

MP: Steven Adams. I hesitate to call any big who can’t rebound a great athlete. He can’t catch the ball and he can’t shoot. He does have defensive potential, but I think he’ll always be a liability on offense, and I don’t think he’ll become an impactful player.

Joe: Ryan and Pellissier are on the money here. If you’re not good (even in college) at the things that are hard to teach (receiving passes, free throw shooting (44%), finishing around the rim), then you’re not going to do very well in the NBA. His decision to go pro isn’t based on whether or not he’s ready, it’s to “help his family”. While that in itself is an admirable decision– putting family before self– it’s not exactly what you want to hear about the guy your team drafts in the lottery.

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