(NEW ORLEANS) — The Pelicans are looking for a fresh start with an exciting young core for the 2019-2020 season. From trading All-Star Anthony Davis for young players and draft picks to signing excellent role players like JJ Redick, the Pelicans have done an excellent job positioning themselves for the future.
Against all odds, the Pelicans won the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. With this pick, they selected Zion Williamson, Duke’s 6 foot 7 phenom forward. Zion wowed millions with his ridiculous athleticism to go along with a 285 lb. frame. New Orleans then traded the fourth overall selection (received from LA in the Anthony Davis deal) for the 8th, 17th, and 35th picks. The Pelicans used the eighth pick to grab Jaxson Hayes, a much needed big man that can protect the paint and the 17th to select Nickeil Alexander-Walker from Virginia Tech, a consistent shooter and playmaker.
The Pelicans landed two key free agents in Redick and Derrick Favors. Redick is a veteran sharp shooter who has been to the playoffs for 13 straight years. Favors is a consistent rebounder who can also work in the post, and he will pick up the position Anthony Davis vacated.
Davis, who was recently traded in June, was the piece New Orleans gave to Los Angeles for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first round picks. Ball is a player with a lot of potential- very athletic with tremendous passing vision and basketball IQ. Ingram is an all-around scorer with a lanky 6 foot 9 build who often is compared to All-Star Kevin Durant. Hart served as a great sixth man for the Lakers, and he is a solid two-way guard.
The driving force behind all of these moves has been new President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. Griffin was the architect behind Cleveland’s 2016 title run, and hopes to have similar success in New Orleans. Griffin has ignited a new, exciting culture and a spirit of optimism in New Orleans.
The Pelicans begin their season tomorrow in Toronto, where they face off against the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
The Paper Wolf prediction: Record – 43-39 / Lose in the first round of the playoffs