Winners and losers of the 2019 NBA Draft
New Orleans Pelicans
Holy smokes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a ton of value for dropping straight back to No. 8. In most years, trading from the top five of this draft would be a remarkably risky move since draft worth tends to fall off a cliff in the No. 6 pick. However, this isn’t most years; we’ve been hearing for months that the 2019 draft projected to be unusually shallow following Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin clearly felt he could slide back four slots out of No. 4 and still get the player he desired, center Jaxson Hayes.
Utilizing ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick point system to help put transactions such as these in perspective, the Pelicans received 3,560 points in draft select worth (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 for No. 35) in comparison to 2,450 points going into Atlanta (2,440 for No. 4; 10 to get No. 57). That is a humongous difference in value. In addition to that, the Pelicans shed Solomon Hill’s $13 million contract. In addition to that, the Pelicans received Cleveland’s 2020 first-round choice, which will likely turn into a set of second-rounders.
This is a heist by Griffin, who proceeds to conduct a clinic in his opening salvo. I’m not in love with all the Hayes selection at No. 8. He is a large pick-and-roll dunker from the Tyson Chandler mould, which is a fantastic fit on many rosters. However, the Pelicans need shooters around Williamson to amplify his athleticism and Hayes hasn’t revealed any variety away from the paint.
The fantastic thing is that Hayes has a really good stroke at the free throw line (74 percent last season at Texas), so he could maybe stretch out and develop a jumper. With that said, Lonzo Ball could shatter the lob record with Williamson and Hayes running in the rim. Sheesh.
By making the trade with Atlanta, the Pelicans have dug out roughly $30 million in cap space, which they can use to purchase more picks down online or earn some shooting talent to free up more room for the kids. Do not be surprised if Griffin brings in Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin in Phoenix, to assist coach up the locker area and bring in a 3-and-D existence on the wing.
Oh, and by the way, they drafted the best potential because LeBron James.