clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN Mock 9.1 has Pelicans selecting Jaylen Brown over Dragan Bender and Buddy Hield

The Boston Celtics will likely influence the outcome of the 2016 NBA Draft for a number of teams including the New Orleans Pelicans.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In Chad Ford's latest release this morning, ESPN Mock 9.1 likes Jaylen Brown as the sixth pick for the New Orleans Pelicans. Less than a week ago, 9.0 had predicted Jamal Murray would be the choice.

I've lost track of all the names that Ford has previously linked to New Orleans, but there does appear to be one constant that has emerged. The Boston Celtics are in the driver's seat, so whomever they select will have a domino effect on three or four teams directly behind them on the draft board.

The Phoenix Suns, in search of filling their hole at power forward, have consistently been tied to Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender; however, the selections of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Pelicans, Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings have typically been dependent on what transpires ahead of them.

There have also been plenty of rumors that Danny Ainge would prefer to trade the 3rd pick for a proven young veteran. The Boston Celtics are no longer in a rebuilding mode, narrowly missing out on a third place finish in the Eastern Conference last season. Meanwhile, word out of Minnesota is that Tom Thibodeau would also dangle the team's first round pick to land a veteran like Jimmy Butler.

Hence, the short version is that with the potential for such volatility over the next few days, expect little solidarity to materialize regarding the Pelicans pick. Only Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram appear to have knowledge of their destinations ahead of time, so the fact Brown has most recently been tied to New Orleans means little at this stage.

The Pelicans are also out there trying to get a veteran for this pick. However, they too are having a hard time finding takers. They need guards badly. Eric Gordon is a free agent. Jrue Holiday is in the last year of his deal and has struggled to stay healthy. Murray, Dunn and Buddy Hield will all be intriguing.

Dunn's point guard abilities are coveted by head coach Alvin Gentry. Both Murray and Hield can come in and improve the team's shooting from day one. However, in this scenario with both Dunn and Murray off the board, Brown becomes another intriguing prospect. The team ranked 28th in the league in defense last year and Brown's defensive abilities surpass those of both Murray and Hield. If he can figure out his jump shot, he has some star potential.

Last week, I had a problem with Ford's rationale because he had Murray, a freshman, slated to the Pelicans. Now, he's going with another one and done candidate in Brown. The Pelicans have made it a habit of avoiding drawn out player development for years now.

During yesterday's pre-draft conference, Dell Demps once again alluded to targeting a player that would help in both the short and long terms. In most cases, one should read that as experience is required! Demps' tenure has been littered with the acquisitions of young veterans for future assets, and by all appearances, his latest verbiage indicates little has probably changed.

If Hield or Kris Dunn remain available, we should fully expect the Pelicans to draft one of them before Murray, Brown or sadly, Bender. And, if an alluring trade for a young veteran is sitting on the table, those bets will be off too.