Immediately after the Anthony Davis trade was announced, we learned that teams were interested in acquiring the Lakers fourth overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. What would you like to see the New Orleans Pelicans do with it? Keep it and draft a highly regarded prospect, flip it for several assets in the manner similar to Atlanta’s trade with Dallas last year where the Mavericks moved up to draft Luka Doncic, or package it for the best player available, say a Bradley Beal or another young player with star potential?
Jason Albert: Draft Jarrett Culver
As far as the #4 pick, I truly hope to see the Pelicans keep it and draft Jarrett Culver. He’s a talented and gritty wing player, who with some work on his outside shooting, could become a valuable two-way player. He has a surprising ability to create for his teammates and is a bully on defense. All of that combined with promising reports of him being a high character guy and I think he could be the perfect player to put next to Zion.
Kevin Barrios: Trade pick in package for Myles Turner or Aaron Gordon
If Griffin can combine the pick with E’Twaun Moore and some combination of the four 2nd rounders the Pelicans received in return for Nikola Mirotic, chasing Myles Turner or Aaron Gordon would be my primary objective. If that doesn’t pan out, I’d like to see him trade down with Phoenix to grab their sixth pick and Mikal Bridges.
Bridges would add another extremely versatile and young wing defender at 6’-7” and a 7’-1” wingspan. He has earned a few hilariously bad nicknames: Noodles, Inspector Go Go Gadget, String Bean and Praying Mantis. He only shot 33% from deep in his rookie year, but in his final 2 years at Villanova he shot 39.3% and 43.5% from deep. That’s a substantial sample size and his 80.5% from the free throw line last year projects him to be a solid 3-and-D player for his career.
With the sixth overall pick, the Pelicans could then draft De’Andre Hunter or Sekou Doumbouya to provide depth behind Zion as well as further bolster the defensive versatility on the roster. I could also understand selecting Coby White to add depth at the point and some bench scoring behind Lonzo — likewise with taking a shot on Cam Reddish (especially if Ingram isn’t long for the roster).
Chris Connor: Trade pick in package for Aaron Gordon
Personally, I’d prefer to keep the pick, but with a present commitment to Jrue Holiday, adding more inexperienced youth right away does not seem to fit the current timeline. With that being said, Aaron Gordon is the guy I’d target.
We know about the athleticism, but there’s so much more for Gordon to unlock in the right system. Gentry’s pace and style would immediately welcome Gordon’s sky walking abilities. In Orlando the continued efforts of trying to play him at small forward disrupted a lot of his development. At the power forward position, I think he’ll continue to develop the true strengths in his game: driving around violent closeouts, cutting to the basket backdoor, and knocking down open three-pointers (39 percent shooting threes between 22-24 feet), specifically from the right corner. And while he has room to improve both on and off the ball defensively, the tools are there.
The next big addition in NOLA shouldn’t be another perimeter player if the front office is truly excited about slotting Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball around Jrue Holiday. Pencil in a young veteran (insert Dell Demps joke here), but this time one that complements the parts, not takes away from them.
Mike Delayo: Trade back in the draft
Having options is great! I like enough of the paths the Pelicans could take here that I don’t feel too strongly about any one. As fascinated as I am about a deal for Beal, I think getting the eighth and tenth picks from Atlanta would make for a nice gamble.
I have heard some great cases made for players like Jarrett Culver, Coby White, De’Andre Hunter, Darius Garland and Cam Reddish to be taken with the fourth pick. Assuming picks two and three play out as expected with Ja Morant and RJ Barrett, at least one of these players would be available at eight, and if another team reached on someone else, then perhaps the Pels could wind up with two.
These are the pros of a broad tier of draft picks. Obviously, the major con is that if any of these players were that good, they’d be a lock at four, but with the Pelicans already landing likely the surest thing at one, they don’t need to hit every shot they take.
Jamile Dunn: Trade pick in package for Aaron Gordon or Lauri Markkanen
Darius Garland would be my preference if New Orleans keeps the fourth pick, but if the Pelicans plan on Lonzo Ball being the future, it probably makes more sense to trade the fourth pick.
If the Pelicans could package #4 with Brandon Ingram or other pieces to get Aaron Gordon, I would jump all over that. The fit with Zion isn’t quite seamless, but that much athleticism and try hard on the court at once is extremely hard to acquire in the NBA. Assuming Gordon takes another step forward with his shooting and ball handling, the Pelicans could have an absolutely devastating small ball lineup with Zion and Gordon playing interchangeably at the 3-5.
If Aaron Gordon is unattainable, I’d like to see Griffin try to steal Lauri Markkanen away from the Chricago Bulls. Markkanen has the size, length, athleticism, and ability to stretch the floor that would pair perfectly next to Zion Williamson. In addition, Markkanen has two years remaining on his rookie deal, allowing the Pelicans to retain their salary cap flexibility.
David Fisher: Trade pick in package for Myles Turner or another young veteran
It’s more of a sliding scale for me, and it has evolved the more I’ve thought about it. Is Myles Turner, Lauri Markkanen, Aaron Gordon, Domantas Sabonis, or Bradley Beal on the table for the fourth pick? How much more do the Pelicans need to add to get the deal done? I’d take any of those five players (listed in my personal order of preference, getting the right big man with Zion is very important to me) rather than what you’d get with the fourth pick as long as it doesn’t cost another future first round pick or Lonzo Ball, who I’m much higher on than Brandon Ingram.
What are the offers to trade back with Phoenix (sixth pick), Chicago (seventh), or Atlanta (eighth)? I’d gladly learn the Pelicans picked up another future asset to slide back, but I think that option is behind all of the before listed possible “young vets” above. Only if none of those options are available would I keep and make the fourth pick.
Charlie Gonzalez: Trade pick in package for Myles Turner
I’d love to package the fourth pick and Ingram for Myles Turner if that’s a remote possibility. I think finding a long term front court complement for Zion should be high on the team’s priority list especially if they like Lonzo as the answer at point.
David Grubb: Trade pick in package for veteran
I don’t think the Pelicans should be trying to add another rookie this season. The backcourt and wings are filled with young players. There are teams that would love to move up in this draft, and the Pelicans could potentially unload some undesirable salary or redundant player in exchange for a veteran. There are still holes at starting center and backup point guard, and an additional power forward would be nice as well.
Zachary Junda: Trade pick in package for Bradley Beal
I say be aggressive and try and get Bradley Beal. The Pelicans gave the extra picks, the young guys and an expiring Solomon Hill deal to go out and get a proven All-Star and someone needs to throw Beal a lifeboat to get him off the sinking ship that is the Wizards.
Oleh Kosel: Trade back in the draft
Prior to the Anthony Davis trade, reports circulated that David Griffin was eager to bring a third team to the negotiating table with the Lakers and that their first-round pick (#4) was to be used as bait to reroute a good young player to New Orleans. Nothing transpired, so should we assume Griffin wasn’t able to procure that star talent or did a three-team deal prove too cumbersome?
I’m going to assume the former, but if not, I would still prefer the Pelicans trade down in this draft anyway. We’re not entirely sure what Zion Williamson will develop into so why burden the salary cap? Besides, is that perfect piece available anyways? (For instance, I’m not sold on Bradley Beal’s longterm fit. Now Markkanen on the other hand...) Just as with most of the all-time greats, Zion is going to need time to mature, and don’t forget that Ball and Ingram — if they’re assumed to be part of the core — are far from finished products, too. There’s a difference between being competitive and winning now so let’s not blur that line.
At the fourth pick, three guards are most often mentioned of being taken in that range: Jarrett Culver, Coby White and Darius Garland. If Griffin is confident in the long-term futures of Holiday and Ball, he should flip that pick to a team prioritizing the lead guard spot like Chicago or Phoenix. Perhaps even the Boston Celtics have interest as they’re seemingly on the verge of losing Kyrie Irving and their next best bet is likely Terry Rozier. Get two future assets for the price of one and keep that treasure trove filled nicely for when that certifiable, glove-like-fit young stud does become available.
Travis Tate: Trade pick in package for Bradley Beal
In a 3-player draft, I see what team wants the 4th pick, pack it up with whatever pieces necessary and grab more picks and at least 1 starting level player. Best case scenario is Brad Beal, but are the Wizards willing to do that?