Pelicans take a step forward, literally, in the draft – Crescent City Sports


The identification, verification and selection of the best player available allows a good constitution of the list.

For the New Orleans Pelicans, that was the goal. The plan was executed Thursday evening.

The end result is three long-serving players with two having a shot at making this year’s roster and a third worth looking at as a future prospect.

Before emphasizing the positive, perhaps the negative is not selecting a pure shooter, an obvious need from an otherwise good roster.

Dyson Daniels placing eighth overall in New Orleans was no surprise. He was clearly one of the top players on New Orleans draft analysts’ radar.

Daniels appeared in more than one mock draft as the Pelicans’ predicted pick in the first round of the NBA Draft.

This happened as New Orleans guarded their pick, using it.

Another player many focused on was Arizona’s Benedict Mathurin, but Indiana snatched Mathurin with the sixth overall pick.

Daniels will be more ready for the NBA than some other potential picks as he played professionally in the NBA G-League last season, averaging 12 points, seven rebounds, 5.1 assists and two steals per game for The Ignite. .

Another aspect to love about Daniels is that he has international experience, having played for the Australia U19 national team in 2021.

Daniels, an Aussie, is a little skinny (6-8, 199) so hopefully he’ll gear up a bit. Daniels has a huge wingspan of seven feet.

A very good athlete, Daniels grew up playing Australian rules football.

Daniels has the pedigree too. His father Ricky played at NC State before playing professionally. His older brother Kai plays at Regis University.

Already a very good perimeter defender with good ball-peddling skills at 19, he can keep several positions. Its length will be a real asset.

Daniels also sees the ground well, can put the ball on the ground and is a very good passer.

His shooting needs to improve as he shot 44.9% from the field, including only 25.5% from three points last season. He was a modest 73.7% from the free throw line.

The good news is that Daniels doesn’t have to step in and be a major player immediately, with such a deep roster under contract already. If Dhe breaks through and earns rotation playtime, that will be a bonus and an indication of his quality.

In the second round, EJ Lidell went to New Orleans with the 41st overall pick.

Lidell is a mature young man at the age of 21 and strong at 6-7, 242 pounds. He is physically tough and a very competitive player who burns.

While not an elite or flashy athlete, he is smart and consistent. The Ohio State star plays bigger than his height, knowing how to use his huge seven-foot wingspan.

He is also a player who, at his modest size for a striker, can block shots.

Lidell gives New Orleans another good defender like Daniels, joining Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado as tenacious options on the defensive side of the floor.

An already solid and willing passer, Lidell also showed improvement with his shooting last season for the Buckeyes. He was a first-team All-Big 10 player last season, averaging 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.6 blocks per game.

Most impressive is how Lidell, who was a low post player in his first two years at Ohio State, extended his game and perimeter shooting ability. He shot 37.4% from three-point range in the 2021-22 season. Consider he shot 19.2% from beyond the arc in his first season, and you can see how much he improved his shooting and how hard he had to work to achieve it.

His work ethic is described as off the charts and he is a good character player. His extensive college experience makes him ready for the NBA.

Some draft screenings had Lidell mid to late round one.

The Pelicans are hoping Lidell will be another steal in the second round, like Jones was a year ago.

With a traffic jam up front, it won’t be easy for Lidell to earn a roster spot, but he could have a future with New Orleans. Based on the draft projections, it’s safe to say that Lidell was a value pick by the Pelicans.

With the 52nd overall pick, New Orleans opted for an international player in Karlo Matkovic.

At nearly 6-11, Matkovic is long and finishes on the edge. He is another attacker who can play in the center with his height and ability to jump.

Matkovic hasn’t proven to be a prolific scorer, averaging 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds for Mega Mozzart in Serbia last season. He is not currently a perimeter player or a threat, but he is a shot blocker and edge finisher. In his final season, Matkovic showed 60.6% from the field.

Described as another hard worker, he is strictly an inside player and an off-the-ball player at the offensive end of the floor, although his draft workouts have shown real benefits in expanding his game.

Matkovic will be stashed by the Pelicans, and his future with the team doesn’t seem immediate. As mentioned, New Orleans has a very full roster right now.

Additionally, the Pelicans will be looking to unearth some more undrafted gold like they did last season by signing Jose Alvarado with the reported deal to sign Dereon Seabron from NC State on a two-way contract.

The 6-foot-7 Seabron averaged more than 17 points and eight rebounds per game as a second redshirt last season for the Wolfpack. For his efforts, he was named the ACC’s Most Improved Player and second-team all-conference.

The Pelicans are one step forward, only three steps forward, based on the talent level and positions of the players picked Thursday night.


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