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New Orleans Pelicans focus on college seniors in Monday pre-draft workouts

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Buddy Hield and Denzel Valentine were not among those present, rather a host of possible second round selections and Summer League invitees dominated the day's evaluations.

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The New Orleans Pelicans released their first official pre-draft workout list early this morning, and the names are probably a bit underwhelming to the casual fan. Only one of the twelve are projected to be a first round selection (Guerschon Yabusele), while eight of the names were college seniors, ranking at best as possible mid-to-late second round picks.


Chad Ford Ranking Class/Age Position Notes
Guerschon Yabusele 30 20 (France) PF Skilled and strong athlete. Considered possible draft and stash candidate.
Isaia Cordinier 50 19 (France) SG Oozes athleticism but very raw and has questionable shot.
Michael Gbinije 52 Senior (Syracuse) SF Versatile athlete, a potential 3-and-D future.
Jake Layman 54 Senior (Maryland) SF Very good athlete and shooter but questionable determination. Could make for a steal 3-and-D player.
Gary Payton II 55 Senior (Oregon) PG Defensive stopper due to size and athleticism but offensive concerns loom large.
Wayne Selden 68 Junior (Kansas) SG Good physical tools but game requires plenty of work.
Perry Ellis 69 Senior (Kansas) PF Solid player with some versatility and range to 3-point line but possesses questionable NBA-impact ability.
Troy Williams 70 Junior (Indiana) SF Nice athleticism yet questionable jumper and basketball IQ. Potential 3-and-D player if he solves decision-making woes.
Yogi Ferrell 80 Senior (Indiana) PG Lacks proper size but considered one of best NCAA point guards.
Prince Ibeh 87 Senior (Texas) C Athletic specimen with potential to be elite rim protector and rebounder but never saw large minutes in college until Cameron Ridley injury.
Thomas Walkup N/A Senior (Stephen F. Austin) G/F Non-combine invitee lacks range but exudes strong leadership qualities.
Kaleb Tarczewski N/A Senior (Arizona) C Highly touted coming out of high school but ranks 35th (per DX) among 2016 seniors.

Two international prospects, both from France, top the list in terms of NBA Draft projections from ESPN, but it's likely someone from the rest of the group leaves a mark with the New Orleans organization sometime down the road.

Michael Gbinjie's biggest knock is his age -- he will be 24 come October. His main strength is his versatility, having played the 1 through 3 positions for three years under Jim Boeheim. He's not exceptional at any one aspect and could still use refinement across the board, but the trend towards positionless basketball and a solid Combine performance merit a strong look.

Jake Layman is a favorite of The Bird Writes on this pre-draft workout list. The former Terrapin is a fantastic long-range shooter and his athleticism is on par with NBA players. He has been compared to Chandler Parsons, but inconsistent production has plagued him throughout his college years. If he could learn to make a consistent impact, he could be a steal.

Troy Williams is a solid athlete, but his jumpshot and basketball IQ have consistently been questioned by experts. I'd argue a 34.7 3FG% on 75 attempts deserves a new assessment, yet it's difficult to ignore all his issues with common decision-making at age 21.

Gary Payton is not likely to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a perennial All-Star; however, he has all the skills necessary to be a very good reserve point guard as evidenced by winning two Defensive Players of the Year in the Pac-12. His future, similar to Tim Frazier, will be determined by any sustained improvements made in a below average jumpshot.

Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis have drawn attention from a number of top teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, but their repertoires are littered with legitimate concerns.

It's great to see the New Orleans Pelicans finally announce several of their potential draft day targets, but don't be surprised if none of these twelve workout invitees emerge in uniform next season. More likely, perhaps a prospect or two appear on the team's 2016 Summer League Squad next month, and they can carve out a career path to the NBA in the mold of the late Bryce Dejean-Jones.