Tuesday, May 23, 2023

New Orleans Pelicans Post-Lottery 2023 NBA Mock Draft Roundup

Leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft, we will update our New Orleans Pelicans Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the New Orleans Pelicans from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Pelicans:

The Rookie Wire — Cody Taylor (5/19)

14. Leonard Miller, G League Ignite

Miller, who was born in Canada, is highly touted for his ability on both ends of the floor. He does the majority of his work in the paint but shot 30.4% from 3-point range on 2.4 attempts per game last season. He is active as a cutter and has a great package of finishes and often hits the offensive glass hard.

He became a walking double-double with the Ignite in February, recording seven alone in the month (in eight games), and will be able to bring that production to the NBA. We are a bit higher on Miller than most at this point of the process and believe his stock will continue to rise as the draft approaches on June 22.

CBS Sports — Gary Parrish (5/17)

14. Cason Wallace, Kentucky

The Pelicans have a lot of interesting pieces but still need a starter-level point guard. Wallace is a nice option at the bottom of the lottery as a playmaker who has a chance to be above average on both ends of the court given the way he enthusiastically takes on the role as an on-ball defender.

Sporting News — Kyle Irving (5/17)

14. Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut

When fully healthy, the Pelicans have a young roster that should contend for an NBA championship. One of their only needs would be more perimeter shooting around franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson — and Hawkins would be that guy.

Simply put, Hawkins has a flamethrower. The UConn sophomore shot the lights out during the NCAA Tournament, elevating his draft stock in the process. Hawkins showed his ability to knock down 3s in a variety of ways, converting at a lights-out 50 percent clip on 38 attempts. He's constantly moving without the ball and has a lightning-quick release, rarely phased by defenders closing out on his shot.

The Athletic — Sam Vecenie (5/16)

14. Kobe Bufkin, Michigan

The Scout: I'm placing a bet that Bufkin ends up rising through the pre-draft process. He's one of my favorite prospects, and the tape is quite strong. Over his last 12 games, he averaged 17 points per game in Big Ten play while shooting 52 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3 and 89 percent from the line. He also grabbed six rebounds, had three assists and about two steals. That's the point in the year when he started to get more usage consistently. He averaged only 9.6 shots per game for Michigan's first 18 games as the Wolverines used more Hunter Dickinson/Jett Howard sets. In those last 15, Bufkin took nearly 13 shots per game and got far more high-leverage opportunities. There just aren't many holes in his game. He's a great finisher and a good shooter from the midrange and 3. He makes high-level passes. He's strong on the ball and can help defensively. He's just well-rounded.

The Fit: The Pelicans could certainly use more young backcourt depth. They took Dyson Daniels last year. Bufkin profiles really well next to CJ McCollum and Daniels long term as a solid defender who mixes scoring and passing at a solid level. It's also not impossible that the team looks to shore up some depth in the frontcourt as Jonas Valanciunas continues to get older and Zion Williamson remains an injury risk. But there aren't a ton of great options available in this regard at this point.

Yahoo! Sports — Krysten Peek (5/16)

14. Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana

Hood-Schifino is a strong guard with great feel who extended his game past the 3-point line and improved his read off the screen. He plays bigger than his size and has a quicker first step off the dribble than what meets the eye. Hood-Schifino had a slow ascent to a potential lottery option after battling with a minor back injury to start the season. He hit his groove late in the season and was the No. 1 option in Indiana's offense to close out the season.

Bleacher Report — Jonathan Wasserman (5/16)

14. Jett Howard, Michigan

Look for the Pelicans to explore trading out of No. 14, given their surplus of guards, wings and forwards and their win-now mentality. This is a best-player-available spot on the board, and Howard figures to be appealing for almost everyone with his coveted mix of 6'8" size and shooting versatility.

SB Nation — Ricky O'Donnell (5/16)

14. Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

Sensabaugh is one of the truly great scoring prospects in this draft class. A strong 6'6, 230-pound wing, the Ohio State freshman is the master of the midrange while also being an excellent three-point shooter. Sensabaugh has drawn comparisons to modern-day DeMar DeRozan for his ability to get to his spots and hit pull-up jumpers from the elbows. He's also an awesome three-point shooter, making 40.5 percent of his triples on 148 attempts. So why isn't he considered a top pick in this draft? Well, Sensabaugh doesn't pass much and doesn't defend much, either. He's already such a good scorer that he should have a role in the league for a long time either way, but if he can improve in those areas, he could be one of the bigger value plays in this draft.

CBS Sports — Kyle Boone (5/16)

14. Kris Murray, Iowa

Murray had a breakout season for Iowa averaging north of 20 points per game while showing off range as a 3-point shooter. He's a combo forward who brings versatility, polish and size, all assets for a team looking to surround Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram with weapons.

For the Win — Bryan Kalbrosky (5/16)

14. Kobe Bufkin, Michigan

All-Big Ten guard Kobe Bufkin was highly impactful for his team, averaging 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds with 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

Michigan outscored opponents by 9.9 points per 100 possessions when Bufkin was on the floor, per Pivot Analysis. They were outscored by 11.8 points per 100 when he was not featured. According to CBB Analytics, that swing ranked sixth-best among all high-major players.

He is a 6-foot-4 sophomore with two years of collegiate experience but he is younger than several notable freshmen including teammate Jett Howard as well as Jarace Walker, Judah Mintz, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Brandon Miller.

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