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ESPN says Kris Dunn is smartest 2016 NBA Draft choice for New Orleans Pelicans

Chad Ford opts for Dunn over 'New Kobe.'

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According to the newest Chad Ford 'Grade A' NBA Mock Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans should select Kris Dunn, the redshirt junior point guard out of Providence. Both Jamal Murray and Dragan Bender were off the board so the choice in theory came down to either Dunn or Buddy Hield.

This ESPN mock draft varies from previous versions because Ford's selections were exclusively made from the vantage point of every front office. Team need, draft value and the best interests of each individual franchise were taken into account. No speculative trades were considered in the simulation.

The decision to go with Dunn over Hield was three-fold. One, as evidenced by the performances of Ish Smith and Tim Frazier last season, Anthony Davis needs to consistently be surrounded by playmakers to maximize his potential. Two, Dunn's upside is considered significantly higher than that of Hield. And three, Dunn, already a superior defender, possesses the skills to morph into an enviable two-way player.

Anthony Davis needs a real playmaker to help him get to the next level, and Dunn has the tools to be great on both ends of the floor. He can still be wild with the ball and his shooting is a work in progress, but overall I think he might be an upgrade over Jrue Holiday eventually.

An upgrade over Jrue Holiday? That's lofty expectations for Dunn considering in their age-21 seasons, Holiday exhibited a more efficient shot (higher 3FG% & FT%) and better decision making (lower TOV%) all the while competing against the NBA elite!

Regardless, it's difficult to not be enamored with Dunn after viewing highlight reels of his impact on both sides of the ball. As witnessed in every postseason, the biggest difference makers regularly determine their team's championship aspirations. If Dunn were to reach his ceiling someday, a pairing with Davis could make for one of the strongest duos in the association and eventually lead to multiple deep playoff runs.