The New Orleans Pelicans finished two games above .500 during the 2022-23 NBA season, and were eliminated in the first play-in game as the 9th seed. But the finish was certainly a disappointment for a team that had too talented a roster to miss out on the postseason, and they’ll be looking to make moves to improve their depth for next year.
Apparently, that would include trading for one of the top draft picks.
Pelicans Could Trade For A Top-3 Pick
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 12, 2023
The 2023 NBA Draft Class is top-heavy, thought loaded with talent within the top-3, headlined by generational prospect Victor Wembanyama. But the talented big man from France isn’t the only player that teams will be clamoring for, and the Hornets and Trail Blazers both sit in good spots with the 2nd and 3rd overall picks in their names.
There seem to be a definitive two options for who might be the second pick may be. Scoot Henderson was long thought to be the second-best prospect in the draft, but it is Alabama’s Brandon Miller who is now the odds-on favorite to be picked after Wembanyama.
If that were to hold true, then it would be the Hornets who would be selecting the big man with the college experience, which would leave the Trail Blazers as the team to draft Henderson.
The guard skipped his senior year of high school in order to begin his professional career by joining the G League, and he played for the Ignite this last season while upping his draft stock. He is an explosive athlete with an NBA-ready body, and has drawn comparisons to guys like Russell Westbrook.
Scoot Henderson Would Be The Likely Target
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 12, 2023
Would he fit well next to Damian Lillard in Portland? Perhaps, but Lillard’s career timeline doesn’t exactly match up with a young, developing prospect. He has spent so many years waiting for the Blazers to put the right players around him, and he is unlikely to wait for a project to come to fruition.
Could the Blazers be in sell mode? If they are, the Pelicans will be one of the teams that is first in line, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Charania reported on Monday that the Pelicans are seriously pursuing a top 3 pick in the NBA Draft with the hopes of selecting Scoot Henderson, meaning that the phone is either Charlotte or Portland could currently be ringing. Most of the situation depends on what the Hornets plan to do with the 2nd pick, and whether the Pelicans would be willing to meet the price tag of either team.
New Orleans might not have much to sell off to Portland. Their draft pick situation is a mess given their trades in the recent past, and it would be tough to match value without giving up their core of players.
The Draft will take place on June 22nd.
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