Let's break down the draft for the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, and how it may or may not impact the Pelicans. While it was reported New Orleans initially drafted Branden Dawson, moments later we learned the rights to the pick were quickly traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash considerations.
Spurs: Nikola Milutinov, 26th overall, 7’, Serbia/Partizan, Center. Cady Lalanne, 55th overall, 6’10", UMass, Power Forward.
The overseas trend continues. San Antonio drafted Nikola (I can NOT stop saying his name like the Ricola commercials: NIIIIIKOLLAAAA) Miltinov out of Serbia. Tim Duncan is on his way out sooner than later, and Tiago Splitter may not be the guy going forward, so this selection was fairly expected. I'd expect Milutinov to join the Spurs immediately, since his services are likely to be needed in the near future. Nikola averaged 9.8 PPG & 7.6 RPG, while playing around 28 minutes per contest. The Pelicans have enough big guys to limit the Serbian, with the threesome of Asik/Ajinca/Withey ready to step up as needed. And, oh yeah, there's also that guy with the uni-brow.
Another foreign born selection in the 2nd round, the Spurs took Cady Lalanne of Haitian descent out of UMass. It's not very likely he makes the squad, but Lalanne averaged 11.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and nearly 2 blocks every match against Atlantic-10 competition. But as a 23 year old senior, you'd like to see a more polished and "veteran" game by this point.
Prediction? Fan favorite for the NBA D-League Austin Toros for 8 years, then opening a very successful State Farm Agency in downtown Pflugerville Texas.
Mavericks: Justin Anderson, 21st overall, 6’6", Virginia, Wing Forward. Satnam Singh, 52nd overall, 7’2", India/IMG Academy, Power Center.
Justin Anderson out of Virginia scares me. He can score at will, defends big and small, and would be matched up against Tyreke Evans or Ryan Anderson on D and O. Gasp. This swing-man out of the University of Virginia is exactly what i'd hoped the Pelicans could've gotten somehow in the draft, and thus has turned into exactly what we should fear most--a freak athlete.
Prediction? Immediate impact player. Move over Richard Jefferson, this dude can ball.
The first Indian born player to be drafted into the NBA, Satnam Singh is surprisingly agile for someone the same size as Andre the Giant. He's got a nice spot up shot (wouldn't call it much of a jumper) and rebounds similarly to Yao Ming -- just kind of throwing a baseball glove sized hand towards the leather sphere. But he's young, he's raw, and he's likely going to end up in the D-league or overseas while Dallas holds his rights.
Rockets: Sam Dekker, 18th overall, 6’9", Wisconsin, Swing Forward. Montrezl Harrell, 32nd overall, 6’8", Louisville, Power Forward.
Sam Dekker'll Deck Ya. That's what the buzz was surrounding this past years March Madness tournament, in which Sammy D knocked down a game ending three, only to casually walk away like a BAMF. Dekker has great size for a perimeter wingman at 6'9, a deadly long range shot, and seemingly endless determination. The Rockets needed someone to come in and help contribute along side James Harden, and they got just what was requested. Sam Dekker could cause trouble for the Pelicans because of his scoring against the 2nd team, and New Orleans would need to find a way to keep up with the potential offensive juggernaut of Harden/Dekker.
Prediction? Impact 6th man candidate
Montrezl Harris is a lot like Patric Young to me. Energy, enthusiasm, power, but not much finesse and undersized for the position he'd been playing in college. Harris could benefit from learning behind Josh Smith and even Terrance Jones, but it's unlikely he finds a role any time soon. Hey, prove me wrong though.
Grizzlies: Jarell Martin, 25th overall, 6’9", LSU, Slash Forward. Andrew Harrison, 44th overall, 6’6", Kentucky, Point Guard.
Need to take my bias chapeau off, because i'm a BIG Jarell Martin fan. The young fella out of Baton Rouge, and LSU for his college years, Martin was explosive almost to a fault. Zach Randolph will do some mentoring, and Anthony Davis will do some scouting, but Martin could find himself as a frequent role player, giving Z-Bo a breather and injecting a spark as necessary. The man between-the-legs dunked in an SEC game this year (See LSU v Florida, Feb 21). I'm confident he is starter material, but i'll watch when his number is called for now off the bench.
Prediction? Marginal impact on the second team. Possible future starting PF with further refinement.
Mike Conley is starting to get some tread on his tires. Beno Udrih Beno'round. Therefore, the point guard spot in Memphis could be primed for the picking. Andrew Harrison, who will make his way to Memphis by way of trade with Phoenix, has a chance to push Conley for the starting gig somewhere down the road. And I think he might eventually do it. Point guards are getting taller (Exum, Wall, Jrue Holiday) and Harrison continues that trend. Jrue and Andrew would be a fine match-up to see, and I think it's likely soon and often.
Prediction? Immediate impact player at PG