According to the latest mock drafts (The Ringer, ESPN, The Athletic and Bleacher Report), the New Orleans Pelicans could be primed to select Kira Lewis Jr., a point guard out of the University of Alabama, at the 13th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
There’s a lot more ambiguity at the 24th overall pick, the draft selection courtesy of the Jrue Holiday trade to the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Pelicans two second round picks (#39 and #42) still in tow.
Lewis posted solid numbers in his sophomore season (18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.8 threes and good shooting %s across the board) and is rising up boards; however, the Pelicans drafting Lewis makes little sense on the surface. As it currently stands, the Pelicans are guard heavy: Lonzo Ball, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, JJ Redick, potentially Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram, and Eric Bledsoe and George Hill via the trade return from the Bucks.
If swirling rumors hold true, though, we should expect at least one of Bledsoe or Hill to be on the move very soon. There’s also the thought that Lewis could serve as good insurance for Ball in the event the Pelicans decide to move on from him; however, it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the two could work together at times — if Lonzo’s shooting improvements witnessed last season are not a mirage. In the areas Ball exhibits weaknesses, Lewis offers strengths.
Will have very few issues blowing by most players. Has also really improved this year as a halfcourt player, though. Has built in some real diversity off the bounce. Better set up moves, better footwork in pick-and-roll. Very few bigs will be able to stay in front of him at the NBA level because he will blow by them. In that vein, he just scores at a high level. Gets buckets at all three levels. Generates shots at the rim, as mentioned above. Has a nice in-between game. Can also hit the pull-up 3. He’s also a very willing defender.
Please read Sam Vecenie’s full breakdown in his latest mock here, but reading that Lewis utilizes pick-and-rolls and gets to the rim (half court creation!) — and has a reliable floater and perimeter game to fall back on, sound enviable, especially following the departure of Holiday.
Personally, I would prefer the Pelicans add a good-sized wing, one who offers a solid three-point shot and has room to become a serviceable to good defender (Devin Vassell, Saddiq Bey, Aaron Nesmith), at the 13th overall pick, but listening to the chatter, there’s a decent chance nothing’s going to be given tonight. The expectation is that teams will be wheeling and dealing.
With New Orleans holding four picks and two potential trade chips in Bledsoe and Hill — and have been rumored of wanting to move up in the draft for weeks, expect the Pelicans to enter the fray.
Happy Draft Day, everybody!