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NBA Western Conference: Most important need for each Southwest Division team heading into the NBA Draft

Jason Mills
219   //    15 Jun 2019, 20:19 IST

#4 New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks
New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks

2018-19 NBA regular season: 13th seed with a 33-49 record

The New Orleans Pelicans are in the throes of a remake or rebuild of their roster. Superstar center Anthony Davis is likely to be traded. The Pelicans, though, also hold possession of the 1st overall pick and thereby have a myriad of options available to them.

One option is obviously the consensus 1st overall pick Duke University’s athletic powerhouse, Zion Williamson. Whether his talent translates at the NBA level or not (which it should) and whether the Pelicans return to respectable play right away or not, he at least gives the Pelicans fan base something to be excited about. While not quite a replacement for Anthony Davis, Williamson is a 6’8 275 lbs power forward who dropped jaws with awe-inspiring athleticism and dunks in the NCAA this past year. He would and should replace Davis' scoring immediately.

At the moment, the Pelicans need everything and a secondary move at the draft that would be bold and help their rebuild is to move Anthony Davis for a package including the Knicks #3 pick at the draft and then select Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett. Morant would provide a fast-paced point guard while Barrett - who is more likely to available on the board then - would offer a long wing player who can create off the dribble for himself or teammates and shoot well from downtown. 

As a team, in the 2018-19 season, the Pelicans were only 34.4% from 3-point range which was 24th in the NBA overall. Further, point guards Jrue Holiday and Elfrid Payton combined for 15.3 apg but also committed 5.8 turnovers. Payton also only played in 42 games. Should the Grizzlies chose Barrett with the 2nd pick Morant would be an excellent selection at three if the Pelicans can convince the Knicks to part with it.

With the 39th overall pick, the Pelicans, if they cannot acquire the Knicks #3 pick for Davis, should seek out a guard as it is likely they would also move Jrue Holiday if they move Anthony Davis via trade.