The NBA season is approaching the halfway point and that means it's time to think NBA Draft. ESPN's Chad Ford is out with his first full mock draft today and in it he has the New Orleans Pelicans selecting 9th (according to ESPN BPI projections) and picking Florida State's Jonathan Isaac.
About this time last year ESPN's BPI had the Pelicans finishing with the 7th worst record and Chad Ford had them selecting Jamal Murray. Instead the Pelicans finished with the 6th worst record and picked Buddy Hield.
Who is Jonathan Isaac? A comically long (6'10.5" tall with a 7'1.5" wingspan) small forward prospect. Yes, small forward. He's currently averaging 12.2 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Seminoles while shooting 36.6% behind the arc and 77.5% from the free throw line. His calling cards are upside (youth, length, and athleticism) and defense.
Florida State is currently 14-1 and ranked 12th in the country. Their next two games, Saturday against Virginia Tech at 1:00 PM central and Tuesday against Duke at 7:00 PM central, are available on the ACC Network (good luck finding it). Should the Seminoles keep on track they should find their ways into March Madness where Isaac can make more of a national name for himself.
#9- Jonathan Isaac
The Pelicans are among a slew of Western Conference teams competing for the No. 8 playoff seed. BPI's projections are pessimistic that they'll keep up their current hot streak, and it might be for the best. They desperately need talent to put around Anthony Davis.
Isaac might not even be the best player on his current team, but his upside is enormous. He's super skilled, with a huge wingspan, and he can guard multiple positions.
He needs to get stronger but would be a long-term upgrade at the 3 for the Pelicans.
Would the Pelicans actually take a risk on a rail thin small forward prospect with enormous upside (and downside)? Doubtful with the current regime. Should New Orleans fall in the lottery either a new front office would make the decisions or the Pelicans current front office would draft whichever upperclassman asserts himself over the coming months.