With backcourt logjam possibly clearing, Pelicans could select guard in Wednesday’s draft
Last season, there was a logjam in the Pelicans’ backcourt.
Lonzo Ball, who was obtained in the Anthony Davis trade, and Jrue Vacation, New Orleans’ most trustworthy gamer, occupied the starting spots. Behind them, the Pelicans had JJ Redick, still among the league’s elite marksman in his 14th year, and Josh Hart, a hard-nosed reserve. Minutes for the rest of the guards on the roster– Frank Jackson, E’Twaun Moore and novice Nickeil Alexander-Walker– were few and far in between.
This season, it’s not likely there will be as much competitors at guard. Moore is an unlimited complimentary agent, and Vacation is a trade chip who’s coveted by teams around the league. The Pelicans will likely reshape their backcourt, and it would not be stunning if they utilized their first-round pick in Wednesday’s draft to do it.
Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and North Carolina’s Cole Anthony are two of the guards who could be available at 13, where New Orleans is choosing. On Friday, Lewis told reporters in a Zoom call he’s currently worked out for three teams– the Bulls (No. 4), Pistons (No. 7) and Knicks (No. 8)– who are selecting ahead of the Pelicans. Anthony stated he’s exercised for 3 groups– the Wizards (No. 9), Magic (No. 15) and Heat (No. 20)– who are in the back half of the lotto or just outside it.
Lewis and Anthony are both aggressive gamers, but they impact games in different ways.
Lewis is a 6-foot-3 speedster who may be the quickest player in the draft. As an 18-year-old sophomore at Alabama, he averaged 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He grew in new coach Nate Oats’ up-and-down system. He was likewise a reputable 3-point shooter (36.6%), even if it was not the primary method he assaulted.
” I attempt to bring every element I can, whether it’s ball handling, passing, shooting, defense, rebounding,” Lewis stated. “Anything I can do to attempt to help the group get much better. Being more physical with my size and managing perhaps larger defenders, cutting them off. Coming off pick-and-roll, making excellent reads. I try to get much better at every aspect of the video game so I can be the most complete player I can be.”
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Anthony, who’s also 6-3, likes to hunt for jump shots off the dribble. He is a talented shot-maker off the bounce. He averaged 18.5 points per game as a freshman at North Carolina, however he struggled to score efficiently. He shot 38.0% from the field.
A year back, Anthony was forecasted to be a top-three choice. However, he is likely to go somewhere in the teenagers or early 20s in Wednesday’s draft after a rather frustrating college season.
” I was honestly a shadow of myself,” Anthony stated. “I wasn’t healthy. Probably only got 6 games healthy. I think I bring a lot to the table, especially with NBA spacing. I think I truly can add a lot to a team right now.”
In December, Anthony had surgery to fix a partly torn meniscus in his best knee. The injury triggered him to miss out on 11 games.
” It irritates me each and every single day since the season ended,” Anthony stated. “Throughout he season, it was very aggravating. Specifically not being healthy and being out there. You have actually just got to come out with a chip on your shoulder. All my dreams are ahead of me. I can still achieve anything I want to accomplish.”
Okongwu has history with Ball bros
It’s not every day that a person high school group has 3 top-10 NBA picks. Depending upon how Wednesday goes, Chino Hills High School might accomplish it.
In 2016, Chino Hill went 35-0 and won a state champion. Lonzo Ball, a point player for the Pelicans, was a senior then. He went 2nd total in 2017. LaMelo Ball, who has a chance to go No. 1 in Wednesday’s draft, and Onyeka Okongwu, a projected top-10 choice, were both freshmen.
Okongwu, a center who played at USC, stated he has understood the Ball brothers since he was 10 years old.
” Having fun with them my very first years of high school was enjoyable,” Okongwu said. “Having fun with them, I discovered how to rebound the ball a lot, protect a lot, block a great deal of shots, rim run. The important things I learned from my first two years actually equated to the rest of my life playing basketball.”