With the No. 14 pick in the lottery last night, the Pelicans opted to play it safe in drafting Connecticut shooting guard Jordan Hawkins. William Guillory of The Athletic considers the 6’5″ swingman, who won a title with the Huskies this past spring, the ideal new addition to the club heading into the 2023/24 season.
New Orleans had been floated in potential trade scenarios for the Trail Blazers’ eventual No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson, as the team has clearly been hamstrung by major injury issues plaguing star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
“He takes pride in what gets him on the court, and he understands what his game really is,” team president David Griffin said of Hawkins. “I think the winning nature of his background and the way he approaches the game really fits well with us. I know our coaching staff was really excited when they saw him work out.”
There’s more out of New Orleans:
- Pelicans general manager Trajan Langon is not anticipating major personnel changes this summer after the team opted to hold onto its draft pick, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “I don’t foresee a whole lot of change between now and then,” Langdon said. “I think we are happy with our roster.” Griffin, meanwhile, offered a hint into what skills New Orleans is looking to add during the rest of the offseason. “We were looking for rim protection and shooting [in assessing draft candidates],” Griffin said. “We feel like we certainly addressed part of that [during the draft]. But I think as we go through, if we’re able to address that other portion, we would.”
- New Trail Blazers point guard Henderson, the third pick in Thursday’s draft, explained his pre-draft meeting with the Pelicans, who reportedly had some interest in trading up to acquire him, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Henderson indicated that the encounter amounted to “just making sure I wasn’t missing on any opportunity or anything like that.”
- The Pelicans continue to build out their bench for 2023/24 behind third-year head coach Willie Green. Marc J. Spears of Andscape reports (Twitter link) that New Orleans is expected to hire ex-Celtics assistant coach Aaron Miles, a former colleague of Green’s when both were assistants on the Warriors.