Believe it or not, we’re less than two weeks away from the 2020 NBA Draft.
The New Orleans Pelicans currently hold a first round pick (#13 overall) and three second-rounders (#39, #42 and #60).
We’ll profile some of our favorite players for these slots in coming days, but for now, take a look at the latest versions of several prominent mock drafts and their projected picks for the Pelicans in the first round.
|Sam Vecenie @ The Athletic||Ricky O'Donnell & SB Nation||Jonathan Wasserman @ Bleacher Report||USA Today||Kevin O'Connor & The Ringer||NBADraft.net||Jeremy Woo @ Sports Illustrated||CBS Sports|
|Aaron Nesmith||Tyrese Maxey||Saddiq Bey||Aaron Nesmith||Jalen Smith||Aaron Nesmith||Aaron Nesmith||Kira Lewis Jr.|
There’s obvious strong consensus on Aaron Nesmith, the sharp-shooting small forward out of Vanderbilt University.
Who does ESPN list as the 13th best available player for the 2020 NBA Draft? You guessed it: Aaron Nesmith.
Jonathan Givony details Nesmith’s strengths and weaknesses well, so please give it a read in full, but for those completely unfamiliar with him, here are some key bullet points:
Possesses an impressive physical profile at 6-foot-6, 213 pounds, with a near 7-foot wingspan.
Above average athlete whose strength and length give him good upside to grow into on both ends of the floor.
Lauded for his work ethic and leadership.
Arguably the best shooter in the draft.
A stress fracture in his right foot limited Nesmith to 14 games in his sophomore season, but he did compile an impressive line of 23.0 points, 4.9 rebound, 1.4 steals and 4.3 made threes before the injury ended his campaign prematurely. His three-point shooting percentage at 52.2% is positively wild considering he attempted 9.2 treys per game and the vast majority of them were not of the catch-and-shoot variety.
Nesmith exhibits a good motor and uses his 6’10 wingspan to an advantage on the defensive side of the ball. However, his lack of lateral quickness will likely get exploited by NBA guards and plenty of wings unless he adds more agility.
From a personal standpoint, Nesmith sits in my top 3 of realistic options at the 13th pick for the Pelicans. His perimeter shot is NBA-ready, and in a league where the importance of three-pointers continues to grow each year, teams cannot possess enough deadly shooters. Plus, having a fantastic floor spacer alongside Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson is a must and he’ll be able to grow with the young New Orleans core — JJ Redick just turned 36 years old.