Pelicans Mock Draft Roundup: New Orleans focused on wings, shooting

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With the NBA Finals wrapping up on Tuesday, the next thing on the docket on the NBA calendar is the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29. As a result, a handful of mock drafts have come out in recent days with more and more possibilities.

For New Orleans, the focus remains on prioritizing shooting first and foremost. The Pelicans also could look to add depth to the wing, another area they lacked outside of Brandon Ingram last season.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie projected the Pelicans to land wing Josh Giddey out of Australia in his post-Finals mock draft:

“I have less of a feel for the Pelicans than any other team in the top 10. They have a tendency to draft younger (Kira Lewis, Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes were all teenagers when they were picked, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker was 20 years old) under this regime. Plus, their backcourt of the future could use a bit more size. I’ve gone Giddey here, who would be a pretty great replacement for Lonzo Ball, given that Ball is a free agent and no guarantee to re-sign in New Orleans.”

One of the most common names to go to the Pelicans at No. 10 is Davion Mitchell, who Jeremy Woo predicted would go to the Pelicans in his latest Sports Illustrated mock:

“As New Orleans prepares to mount a legitimate playoff run next season, expect the Pelicans to explore options involving this pick to improve the roster and expedite their rebuilding process, while revamping the supporting cast around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Mitchell’s intangibles, defensive acumen and reputation as a gamer should hold obvious appeal to a team that has frequently struggled on the defensive end, and with late-game decision making. While New Orleans doesn’t necessarily need another guard, Mitchell’s skill set differs significantly from the offensive-minded Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis.”

CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger, meanwhile, projects Corey Kispert of Gonzaga to land in New Orleans:

“I hear all the criticisms about age and lack of upside, but Corey Kispert is as close to a known commodity as it gets with a premium NBA skill. He’s the best shooter in the draft, with cultivated knowledge of all the tricks to get open and work around screens. The Pelicans need as much shooting around Zion Williamson as possible, and Kispert should be able to hold his own defensively given his size and strength.”

Likewise, NBC Sports’ Adam Hermann also has Kispert slotted to the Pelicans:

“The Pelicans want to surround Zion Williamson with guys who can get buckets, and Kispert is an absolute sharpshooter from deep – 40% from three during his four-year college career, including 44% last year – who could slot as a more dynamic Joe Harris on a team with a megastar at its center.”

While the player added varies, the goal is pretty clear for the Pelicans in adding players that can complement its young superstar in Zion Williamson.

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