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2016 NBA Draft: Pelicans select Buddy Hield in recent ESPN mock draft update

Pelican fans are sure to be happy with this result!

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN Lottery Mock Draft machine is a favorite past time of fans of bad basketball teams. While New Orleans Pelicans fans did not plan on worrying about the lottery in October this season has re-calibrated those expectations. Right now the Pelicans are in the sixth lottery spot with 27 wins; the Minnesota Timberwolves have 25 and the Sacramento Kings have 30 with seven games to play. New Orleans is not yet a lock to finish with the sixth worst record but the possibility grows with each loss.

If the Pelicans finish the year in 6th they will have a 21.5% chance of moving into the top three in the lottery and a 43.9% chance of remaining in sixth. Unfortunately they will have a 30.5% chance of moving back to seventh and a 4% chance of moving back to eighth. More details on lottery odds are covered in-depth in this article.

Buddy Hield's rise in ESPN's lottery machine is the Pelicans gain in most cases. If the top five picks remain unchanged Hield winds up in the Crescent City. Celebrate!

Hield Mock

Here are the other frequent options for the Pelicans according to Chad Ford.

  • Win the lottery: Ben Simmons
  • Second in lottery: Brandon Ingram
  • Third in lottery: Dragan Bender (please no)
  • Drop to 7th: Usually Kris Dunn, sometimes Buddy Hield is still available
  • Drop to 8th: Marquese Chriss

If the Pelicans end up 3rd I have Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield ahead of Bender though I would field any and all offers to trade back for multiple first round picks. Sliding back to 7th in this draft could be a disaster if Murray and Hield are both off the board; maybe the Nuggets would be willing to trade their two first round picks in teens. Domantas Sabonis and Denzel Valentine are two of my targets if the Pels try to move back.

The good news is right now it is more likely the Pelicans land in the top three or stay at six than move back. May the odds be ever in their favor.

#TankFlight