New Orleans Pelicans: 2020 NBA Draft Preview

The New Orleans Pelicans entered the 2019-20 season believing that Zion Williamson would be the best player on the team but that title actually went to Brandon Ingram. Nonetheless, in the games that Williamson was healthy enough to play in, he dominated the competition like a man amongst boys and made it clear why he was the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Heading into the 2020-21 season, the Pelicans need to continue to build around Ingram and Williamson. Depending on how a potential trade involving veteran Jrue Holiday shakes up the roster, any prospect they pick in the 2020 NBA Draft could wind up being a luxury addition. As for now though, the lottery pick needs to be used on a specific type of prospect.

Related: Full New Orleans Pelicans Salary Cap Preview

2020 NBA Draft Picks

No. 13 overallNo. 39 overallNo. 42 overallNo. 60 overall

Pelicans Draft Needs

A commonality found among most teams that miss the playoffs is a certain level of defensive ineptitude and, for the Pelicans, this particular trend holds true.

New Orleans, ranked 27th in opponent’s points per game last season (117.1), actually has the personnel to perform much better on that end and bringing Stan Van Gundy on as head coach could be just what the doctor ordered. Nonetheless, bringing in more players with high basketball IQs, great intangibles and commendable defense will still make his job a lot easier next season.

David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, is definitely smart enough to recognize that.

2020 NBA Draft Prospect Watchlist

No. 13 overallNo. 39 overallNo. 42 overallNo. 60 overall
G-F Isaac Okoro, AuburnSG Desmond Bane, Texas ChristianG Sam Merrill, Utah StateG-F Naji Marshall, Xavier
F Saddiq Bey, VillanovaPF Paul Reed, DePaulG Isaiah Joe, ArkansasG Jalen Harris, Nevada
G-F Aaron Nesmith, VanderbiltPF Reggie Perry, Mississippi St.SF CJ Elleby, Washington St.SF Josh Hall, Moravian
F-C Jalen Smith, MarylandG-F Robert Woodard II, Mississippi St.G-F Elijah Hughes, SyracuseG Abdoulaye N’Doye, Cholet
PG Tyrell Terry, StanfordSF Jordan Nwora, LouisvilleSG Jay Scrubb, John A. LoganSF Kenyon Martin Jr., IMG Academy

What The Mocks Are Saying

The RingerJalen Smith (No. 13)
The AthleticAaron Nesmith (No. 13), Nico Mannion (No. 39), Sam Merrill (No. 42), Justinian Jessup (No. 60)
USA TODAY SportsAaron Nesmith (No. 13)
CBS SportsKira Lewis Jr. (No. 13)
The ScoreAaron Nesmith (No. 13)

Projected Roster

GJrue Holiday
PGLonzo Ball
SGJ.J. Redick
SGNickeil Alexander-Walker
G-FJosh Hart
FBrandon Ingram
PFZion Williamson
CJaxson Hayes
CNicolo Melli

Team-by-Team NBA Draft Guides

New YorkDetroitMiami
DenverGolden StateDallas
MinnesotaLA ClippersMemphis
Oklahoma LA LakersNew Orleans
UtahSacramentoSan Antonio

More: SLAM’s 2020 NBA Draft Preview