Kevin Pelton, another NBA insider at ESPN, decided to follow in Chris Ford's shoes earlier today and published his first ever version of a Grade A Mock Draft. He envisioned the New Orleans Pelicans selecting Kris Dunn with their 6th pick, and Malcolm Brogdon and Jarrod Uthoff with the team's successive picks in the second round.
If you're unaware of the procedure, Ford annually posts a mock draft from the vantage point of each NBA general manager. His selections are entirely based on who should, not will be chosen and considers both best player available values as well as individual team needs.
Pelton followed the same rules but admitted his results were heavily influenced by his personal stats-based projections. In addition, his mock encompassed the entire draft, as to where Ford's only covered the first round.
Identical to Ford's answer, Kevin Pelton had the New Orleans Pelicans opting for Kris Dunn with their sixth overall pick. Similar to many, he believes a Jrue Holiday-Dunn combination would work well.
Dunn should be a good defensive point guard from day one, and I think he could play alongside Jrue Holiday, as both players have enough size to defend most shooting guards.
In the second round, Malcolm Brogdon, a favorite of Stu Jackson, and Jarrod Uthoff were Pelton's choices for the following reasons.
Brogdon is perhaps the best wing defender in the draft and has a chance to become the 3-and-D role player New Orleans desperately needs on the wing. I view Uthoff as an upgrade on incumbent Luke Babbitt in the combo forward role off the bench.
David Fisher has written extensively in favor of Brogdon, but Uthoff has received little press. Chad Ford believes he is first-round material, but an NBA scout recently questioned the amount of success he would enjoy on the big stage.
"Physically skilled. Needs to get stronger. He's like Gumby with his ability to contort himself around the rim. Such a weird game. Can he rebound just enough to play four? I don't think he can guard threes. NBA guys will eat him up in the post. I just picture him going up against (Washington Wizards forward) Markieff Morris. He's a good shooter but it takes a little time for him to get it off."
Personally, I would have preferred to see prospects like Paul Zipser, DeAndre Bembry, Brice Johnson or Isaia Cordinier -- all selected after pick 40 by Pelton -- ahead of Uthoff, but we're not going to quibble much. If the Pelicans are able to walk away with Dunn and Brogdon tomorrow night, the 2016 NBA Draft would already be considered a stunning success.
If you have some time, I urge everyone to read through Pelton's entire Mock Draft. I'm not going to spoil it, but you won't believe your eyes at the name of the prospect he has selected for the Phoenix Suns at the fourth overall selection!