Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield were neck and neck on our first big board. Who do you like between those two for the Pelicans and why?
Isaac Constans: I prefer Jamal Murray. While I have no questions about the scoring prowess of Buddy, you see what you get. You know that Buddy Buckets will find a way to translate his point-scoring talent to the NBA, but the size and physicality differences will limit his effectiveness doing so. And for a 6'4 senior, there is less adjustment room in his game to develop in other areas.
Murray, meanwhile, was not obviously half the college scorer that Hield was, but that was in one year. In his brief stint at the one-and-done academy of Kentucky, Murray was an especially effective shooter and showed windows of potential all over the offensive end. Murray, I think, is a two-guard in the pros, one who can work on and off the ball. Buddy can do that too, but Murray's potential means that he can expand his passing capabilities and eventually surpass Buddy's shooting capacities even. Heresy, I know, but this is a kid who shot 41% from range and 56% running off screens. Those two stats point to a freshman who has all of the talent and potential to be an NBA stud.
David Fisher: Jamal Murray is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. I understand the reasonable arguments for Buddy Hield; he fits better on this roster right now and he's more likely to contribute right away. If the NBA draft functioned like the NFL draft I would support Hield without question. However, this is not the NFL. NBA rookies rarely contribute positively right away, even Anthony Davis was a net negative as a rookie. With that in mind I don't think the Pelicans should draft anyone based on what they expect to get year one, that's the exact mindset that got them in this mess in the first place.
Murray is vastly better than Hield was at the same age. Murray is an excellent prospect right now despite being just a freshman, and a young one at that. I believe Murray has more ability to create than he showed at Kentucky, we have plenty of evidence given his exploits with the Canadian National Team last summer. Already a superb shooter and noted for his basketball IQ in every scouting report I've read, Murray has significant upside.
At just 19 years old there is potential for him to become an adequate athlete at the NBA level and his 39" vertical at Kentucky shows there's some explosion in those legs. Too often we look at tools like "good at basketball things" as teachable but "good at running and jumping" as skills purely innate. Athletes, especially ones just 19 years old, have the potential to improve at running and jumping too. Hield is going to be a rotation player in the NBA because he can shoot. Murray has a higher ceiling and right now that's the best play for the Pelicans.
Quentin Haynes: Both make sense for the Pelicans, but with the current roster construction, I would go with Buddy Hield. He’s a good shooter and has a bit more wiggle than people think. He’s not a playmaker, but isn’t completely hopeless off the dribble. I worry about both players on the defensive side of the ball, but Buddy should be better, so I lean Hield over Murray.
Zachary Junda: Hield. I don't like that it's hard to project what Murray's future position is. I don't like that he averaged more turnovers than assists and doesn't have the greatest court vision. And I don't like that a guy who likes to go iso shot 36 percent from the floor in isolation situations. With Hield I know what I'm getting. He's a two guard through and through and I don't care that his "passing metrics" are the third worst among the 45 guards in Draft Express' top 100 rankings. He won't need to be the main distributor with Jrue Holiday and Tim Frazier. Instead he can do what he's been improving on in his four years at Oklahoma: moving without the ball and nailing shots off the dribble. I get that Hield is 22, but I'm not about to call someone I'm only seven months older than an old man.
Oleh Kosel: The Hield vs Murray debate perfectly represents the dilemma that many front offices will face at one time or another: chase youth that effervesces greater upside or opt for more proven experience that will be able to contribute in a larger role immediately. If the Pelicans find themselves having to choose between these two outstanding shooting guard prospects, my vote goes to... Buddy Hield. I know one month ago I had written New Orleans would be wise to grab Murray if they had a chance at either player, but I've had a change of heart -- blame the hours spent analyzing video since the Pelicans season ended.
I still think Murray's ceiling is worth betting on, but I'm no longer sold he's a lock to become better than Hield one day. Moreover, Buddy possesses everything the Pelicans desperately need as soon as training camp opens. In addition to the deadly perimeter shooting, I like his odds of becoming a passable defender thanks to his work ethic and more than adequate reach. But most importantly, no one else in the draft offers stronger character traits. Hield oozes an undying love for the game of basketball and I think he is precisely what this locker room needs: a genuine, joyous personality who won't be afraid to be outspoken at times. Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday need a Buddy Hield to slap the floor when it's time to get a stop.
Fernando Ritzman: I like Murray over Hield strictly because of age, I think they are pretty similar players. Murray just has a higher ceiling in my opinion.
Owen Sanborn: Although Murray is a wonderful prospect with an intriguing skill set that will undoubtedly carry over to the NBA game ... I cannot help myself. I would rather have Buddy Hield on the Pelicans. He has a more mature game to date and his age range coincides better with the rest of the core in place. Plus, I have always wanted to root for a player named "Buddy." I want to live in a world where this is possible.