Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Grizzlies, St. Jean, Mathurin

The Pelicans continue to reap the benefits from the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers three years ago, writes Christian Clark of The next piece will be L.A.’s first-round draft pick for this year, which landed in the middle of Thursday’s lottery at No. 8.

New Orleans will also have the option to swap first-rounders with the Lakers next summer, with one more first-round pick coming in either 2024 or 2025, whichever the Pelicans choose. The turmoil that surrounded L.A. this season, along with Davis’ injury history and LeBron James‘ age, could make both those future picks extremely valuable.

Clark also examines the other pieces of the deal, including Brandon Ingram, who has developed into a franchise cornerstone in New Orleans. Ingram averaged 22.7 PPG this season and improved his passing numbers under new coach Willie Green, handing out a career-best 5.6 assists per night.

The other two players in the Davis trade are no longer with the Pelicans, but Josh Hart was used in a package for CJ McCollum, who led a late-season charge into the playoffs. McCollum took over the lead role in the backcourt and was New Orleans’ top scorer over the 26 games he played.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies, who hold two picks in the draft at No. 22 and 29, are “trying hard” to trade up, according to Marc Stein in his latest column for Substack. Memphis already has 13 players under contract for next season and won’t have much playing time to offer a pair of rookies.
  • Assistant coach Greg St. Jean is expected to move to the front of the Mavericks‘ bench next season, Stein tweets. He will likely take the spot vacated by Igor Kokoskov, who is headed to Brooklyn.
  • Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin said he can envision the Spurs drafting him if he’s still on the board at No. 9, per Jeff Garcia of KENS5 in San Antonio. Mathurin met with team officials at last month’s draft combine in Chicago. “It went pretty good. I was able to meet a lot of the staff,” he said. “It was great, to be honest. I was able to see myself going there with all the players they have on their roster. They have great talent. They have a young core. That is for sure one thing that really caught my eye.”
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