Earlier this week I updated our tracking of the various mock drafts on Tuesday. Then, nearly all those writers decided to put out some massive updates beginning on Wednesday when Draft Express moved Marquese Chriss all the way to third. Chad Ford rounded out the week with the rather shocking slide of Dragan Bender to sixth overall, and sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans. Notice that every single other mock we have below has Bender off the board before the Pelicans are on the clock.
Kris Dunn continues to rise as a near consensus selection for New Orleans. Only Jonathan Givony of Draft Express and Andrew Sharpe of Sports Illustrated don't send Dunn to the Crescent City, instead they have him going fifth overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Sharpe has the Pelicans selecting Jamal Murray he notes that Buddy Hield is certainly a possibility.
The Pelicans need real help for next year, so Buddy Hield could make sense, too. But even as a 22-year-old, Buddy will take time to adjust to the NBA. Murray gives the Pelicans the benefit of shooting that could help the same way Hield would, plus an offensive ceiling that could eventually make him a legitimate perimeter star next to Anthony Davis. It's a gamble—at 19 years old, he'll have to get much better on defense, and he struggled creating his own offense against Indiana's NBA-caliber athletes in the NCAA tournament. Still, the Pelicans need to bet big to get Brow some real help. At the very least, he can't be worse than Austin Rivers.
Instead of covering the entire draft here I only included the lottery. While many Pelican fans would like Dell Demps to trade down or trade away a current player (Tyreke Evans?) for an additional first round pick more rookies is so far outside his style I don't think it is terribly realistic. Possible? Sure. Probable? Sadly no.
|Draft Express - Givony (6/1)||CBS Sports - Vecenie (5/31)||CBS Sports - Parrish (6/2)||BBall Insiders - Kyler (6/1)||USA Today - Bodner (5/31)||Sports Illustrated - Sharpe (6/3)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram|
|Boston Celtics||Marquese Chriss||Dragan Bender||Jamal Murray||Jaylen Brown||Dragan Bender||Dragan Bender|
|Phoenix Suns||Dragan Bender||Jaylen Brown||Jaylen Brown||Dragan Bender||Jaylen Brown||Marquese Chriss|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Kris Dunn||Jamal Murray||Dragan Bender||Buddy Hield||Jamal Murray||Kris Dunn|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Buddy Hield||Kris Dunn||Kris Dunn||Kris Dunn||Kris Dunn||Jamal Murray|
|Denver Nuggets||Jaylen Brown||Buddy Hield||Buddy Hield||Skal Labissiere||Buddy Hield||Buddy Hield|
|Sacramento Kings||Jamal Murray||Marquese Chriss||Denzel Valentine||Jamal Murray||Henry ellenson||Jaylen Brown|
|Toronto Raptors||Jakob Poeltl||Jakob Poeltl||Henry Ellenson||Marquese Chriss||Marquese Chriss||Jakob Poeltl|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Wade Baldwin||Henry Ellenson||Jakob Poeltl||Jakob Poeltl||Jakob Poeltl||Timothe Luwawu|
|Orlando Magic||Skal Labissiere||Deyonta Davis||Marquese Chriss||Henry Ellenson||Skal Labissiere||Deyonta Davis|
|Utah Jazz||Timothe Luwawu||Domantas Sabonis||Timothe Luwawu||Denzel Valentine||Wade Baldwin||Furkan Korkmaz|
|Phoenix Suns||Deyonta Davis||Skal Labissiere||Skal Labissiere||Timothe Luwawu||Deyonta Davis||Henry Ellenson|
While every mock draft does not include an analysis of each pick many do. Here's a look at how they project Kris Dunn in New Orleans. First from Sam Vecenie.
This should be Dunn's floor in terms of draft stock, although with Pelicans ownership not exactly being in a particularly stable place at the moment I'm not sure any statement in regard to them is safe. Dunn is the best guard in this draft, an athletic monster at the point guard position who has the size, length, and speed to affect the game at both ends of the floor. He'd be the perfect player to bring in for when Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are free agents next year.
That bold? Yeesh. That's going to be a problem for New Orleans when they try to sell the franchise as a free agent destination next month. Here is what Gary Parrish had to say about Dunn's fit in New Orleans.
Anthony Davis has played four seasons in New Orleans. He's missed the playoffs three times. He's still never won a postseason game. So the Pelicans need to use this pick to get him somebody who can contribute immediately, and Dunn is that somebody. The point guard from Providence might be the best plug-and-play prospect in this draft. He could start on opening night if the Pelicans need him to start on opening night.
Interesting to think of Dunn as a starter his first year out of college. I'd list all the rookies who led their teams to the playoffs starting at point guard, if such a list existed. Damian Lillard? Nope. Chris Paul? Nope. Stephen Curry? Nope. Russell Westbrook? Nope. John Wall? Nope. Kyrie Irving? Nope. Man, this is hard...
Hey, Derrick Rose led the Bulls to the playoffs as a rookie! He was the first pick in a far more celebrated class and they won just 41 games. Needless to say "rookie starting point guard" rarely reaches immediate success. Next up, Derek Bodner of USA T
On paper, the Pelicans have some depth at the guard positions, but there could be a lot of turnover in that department in the near future. With Dunn potentially falling because Boston, Phoenix, and Minnesota have depth at the point guard spot, Dunn might be too talented to pass up here.
There we go. Kris Dunn might be really good eventually. Let's pump those brakes on opening night starter that finally unleashes Anthony Davis. Here's a little perspective. When Jrue Holiday was Dunn's age he was already an NBA All-Star averaging 17.7 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.2 rebounds a game. In the NBA.