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The New Orleans Pelicans remain on track to select Buddy Hield in NBA draft

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Two keys exist: not to drop down in the draft order following the outcome of the lottery next week and for the Phoenix Suns to think positional need and choose a forward in June.

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The general sentiment is that the New Orleans Pelicans would prefer to spend their draft selection on a player possessing more than the minimal required experience of one collegiate season. However, we should assume Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram fall outside of this scope, as both of their ceilings ooze significantly more star potential than the rest of the group of prospects. (Though, I am fairly convinced that if the Pelicans do land a top two pick, they will explore numerous trade avenues to net a return of a proven wing player.)

Earlier this morning, ESPN's draft expert, Chad Ford, mentioned that both Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn are clearly the top two guards on most organizational draft boards. Thus if the Pelicans fail to move up in the draft lottery, Simmons, Ingram, Murray and Dunn will all likely be unavailable come their selection.

Sitting fifth in the standings are the Minnesota Timberwolves. They ranked in the bottom five of the NBA in both three-point field goal percentage (3FG%) as well as three-point attempts (3PA). Although some experts think they might chase a power forward, it's difficult to envision them passing on Murray, Dunn, or sadly, Buddy Hield.

Now for the good news. The Phoenix Suns are currently in the fourth draft position, and they already possess a very good triumvirate of guards signed for the longterm in Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker. About a month ago, most outlets had either Dragan Bender or Jaylen Brown as their selection. It certainly makes sense. The Suns need major upgrades at the forward positions, perhaps none more than at the four spot.

If the Suns do follow a path of positional need, the Pelicans should be in line to draft one of the top three guards, and by most accounts that player should be Buddy Hield. Of course all bets will be off if the lottery outcome is unkind or perhaps an eventual trade or two ahead of the New Orleans selection shakes up the draft order. In approximately four days time (following the May 17th lottery) we'll have a lot more clarity on the situation.