Winners and losers of the 2019 NBA Draft

New Orleans Pelicans

Holy smokes did Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin net a ton of value for falling back to No. 8. In the majority of years, trading out of the top five of this draft would be a remarkably risky move since draft value tends to fall off a cliff at the No. 6 pick. But this is not most years; we have been hearing for weeks that the 2019 draft projected to be unusually shallow following Williamson, RJ Barrett and Ja Morant. Griffin clearly felt he could slide back four slots from No. 4 and still receive the player he desired, center Jaxson Hayes.
Using ESPN’s Kevin Pelton nifty draft pick platform system to help set transactions such as these in perspective, the Pelicans obtained 3,560 points in draft select worth (1,970 for No. 8; 1,220 for No. 17; 370 to get No. 35) compared to 2,450 points heading into Atlanta (2,440 to get No. 4; 10 for No. 57). That is a humongous difference in value. In addition to that, the Pelicans drop Solomon Hill’s $13 million deal. On top of this, the Pelicans obtained Cleveland’s 2020 first-round choice, which will likely become a set of second-rounders.
This was a heist by Griffin, who continues to conduct a practice in his opening salvo. I am not in love with all the Hayes choice at No. 8. He’s a large pick-and-roll dunker from the Tyson Chandler mold, which is a fantastic match on most rosters. However, the Pelicans want shooters around Williamson to reevaluate his athleticism and Hayes has not shown any range away from the paint.
The fantastic thing is that Hayes has a excellent stroke in the free throw line (74 percent last season at Texas), so he could possibly stretch out and produce a jumper. That said, Lonzo Ball could shatter the lob record with Williamson and Hayes running at the rim. Sheesh.
By making the transaction with Atlanta, the Pelicans have carved out about $30 million in cap space, which they can use to purchase more picks down the line or bring in some shooting ability to free up more room for the kids. Don’t be shocked if Griffin brings in Jared Dudley, who spent four and a half seasons with Griffin in Phoenix, to assist coach up the locker area and bring into a 3-and-D existence on the wing.
Oh, and by the way, they drafted the very best potential because LeBron James.

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