The Pelicans have the 39th and 40th picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. There is typically not a lot of hope in landing an NBA contributor with any pick past the 35th pick in the NBA draft. To buck that trend, Dell Demps has to look outside the box for an outlier in the second round.
The Pelicans have shown some interest in drafting point guards this year. According to reports, the Pelicans have worked out Gary Payton II and Kay Felder. After looking at some of the data, Kay Felder is the outlier Dell Demps should draft in the middle of the second round.
What Makes Kay Felder an Outlier in this Year's NBA Draft?
Felder has the highest PER of ANY GUARD in this year's NBA draft. Felder's PER of 30.3 is higher than uber efficient players like Buddy Hield (29.6), Denzel Valentine (30.0), and number one point guard prospect, Kris Dunn (23.5).
I have made it no secret that I have an affinity for college guard's who put up high PER's. Historically, there is a nice correlation between robust prospect PER's and success at the next level.
If you go back and look at the guards who became legitimate NBA stars, you will find that a lot of them had PER's above 24. That list includes Derrick Rose, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kemba Walker, and Damian Lillard. There are two notable outliers in that list since 2011 (roughly when they started keeping track of collegiate PER): Dion Waiters (whose stock has risen recently) and Jimmer Fredette.
Felder's gaudy PER is a reflection of how truly efficient he played this year. Felder lead the country in assists, averaging 9.3 assists per a game. While being an avid playmaker, he also managed to be one of the top 5 of scorers in the country, averaging 24.4 points per a game. He also collected 4.3 rebounds, which is extremely impressive considering his rather small stature.
Speak of the devil, Felder's small size is the one giant wart on his profile that will stop him from getting drafted in the 1st round. Standing at a mere 5' 8" (i.e. normal human being stature), Felder was the smallest player to get measured at the NBA Combine. However, unlike Tyler Ulis, Felder was listed at a much stronger weight. Ulis weighed in at 149 Lbs compared to Felder at 177 pounds. Ulis would be one of the lightest players currently in the NBA.
Despite being the smallest player measured at the NBA combine, Felder actually managed to raise his stock at the Combine. In the physical measurements, Felder had a 44" max vertical, the second highest max vertical ever recorded at the NBA Combine.
Felder also whooped up on the competition during the NBA Combine scrimmages. He outplayed prospective 1st round draft pick Melo Trimble so badly that it was at least part of the reason Trimble decided to remove his name from the draft. Felder racked up 12 points, 4 assists and 4 steals in 24 minutes verses Trimble and company.
Felder is not just a small point guard who can fill up a boxscore. Felder is actually a really good all around basketball player. Most of the scouting reports portray Felder as a guy with a high basketball IQ, instinctual court vision and pesky defense.
What makes Kay Felder an outlier in the second round isn't any physical ability, flashy stats, or fun highlight reels. It is the fact that he is just really, really, really good at playing basketball -- the skill that we all too often overlook when examining a prospect. Dell Demps would be wise to recognize this, and draft Felder in the 2nd round.
*** If you have an opinion about something I wrote, be sure to leave it in the comments below. For more brilliance you can follow me on twitter @jdbillio.