Individual workouts for NBA prospects are in full swing and ESPN's Chad Ford continues to graciously write on what has been happening behind closed doors. Last week, he covered Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray among others, but today's report focused on a group including Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn and Marquese Chriss -- many key players who are expected to be on the board come time the New Orleans Pelicans will be making their sixth overall selection in the 2016 Draft.
It's no secret, Buddy Hield is going to be a deadly perimeter shooter in the league. While analogies to Stephen Curry may seem a bit unfair, his performances have been just as much to blame as anyone issuing the bold comparison.
He rarely missed shots, regardless of where he was on the floor. When the NBA 3-point line became boring (a line that is typically intimidating for college shooters, regardless of their skill), he was comfortable stepping back another five feet and hitting 20-of-25 from "Curry range" in one drill.
Ford mentioned Hield's high confidence level several times (his intangibles are a huge and deciding factor in my opinion) and also noted his strong showings in a number of ball handling drills. Plus, Ford didn't dwell on any defensive shortcomings because Buddy stated that he is going to address all the deficiencies in his game. As hard as Hield has always been known to work on his game, it's probably smart to not bet against him.
Kris Dunn tantalized present spectators with his two-way abilities, but at this point in time his defense is considered to be ahead of his offense. He scrimmaged against Elfrid Payton, Nick Johnson and several other draft prospects.
No one in the gym could score on him with any regularity. Blessed with size, strength, length, speed and aggressiveness, he has the potential to be an All-Defensive team member in the NBA someday. If he can avoid foul trouble, someday might not be that far away.
One of my favorite moments of the past few weeks came when Dunn got caught on a switch against Guerschon Yabusele, a 6-foot-8, 270 pound power forward. As Yabusele banged away at Dunn, Dunn banged right back, refusing to cede an inch.
Who else believes Chad Ford could have easily been describing the play of Jrue Holiday in the above quote? Now go ahead and allow yourself to fantasize about Dunn and Holiday playing together in the same backcourt. Ahhhh!
Marquese Chriss has not been a name often linked to the Pelicans, but he has been my favorite big man prospect for some time. (I ranked him 6th overall in The Bird Write's Big Board.) The main reason is he oozes incredible ability on all parts of the floor.
During one of his drills, he almost knocked himself out, barely missing hitting his forehead on the rim during a powerful dunk. There aren't a lot of 6-foot-10 forwards with his combination of explosive leaping ability and agility. He moves as well as any big I've seen since Andre Drummond.
But Chriss isn't just an athlete. He also comes with a sweet stroke that should allow him to be a stretch-4 in the league. And his leaping ability and aggressiveness on defense make him a terrific option as a rim protector.
The problem associated with drafting Chriss or say Dragan Bender is their youthful ages. Time and again, the front office in New Orleans has generally displayed a preference for selecting experience over future potential. This path could be nearing an end, though, and especially if the Pelicans struggle through another lackluster season.
As usual, I advocate one takes the time to read the linked articles in their entirety that sit behind ESPN's paywall. If you don't have a subscription, consider making the small investment because the Insider's often post very useful and pertinent information throughout the course of the year.