With the draft in the rearview now can we take a moment to marvel at what David Griffin and the New Orleans Pelicans accomplished?
We’re sure they would have rather kept Anthony Davis but once he made it clear that he wasn’t interested, look how brilliantly the franchise responded.
Davis went to the LA Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. They also got the #4 pick in this round and a top-eight protected 2021 first-round pick that would become unprotected in 2022, the right to swap first round picks in 2023 and a 2024 first-round pick or 2025, depending on what New Orleans chooses.
So leaving the #4 2019 pick out for the moment, from a single trade, the Pelicans will get five players and the right to swap picks in 2023 if the Lakers have the higher pick.
Of the currently active players, Ingram was the #2 pick in 2016, Ball was the #2 pick in 2017 and Hart was the #30 pick in that same year.
New Orleans traded the #4 pick in this year’s draft to Atlanta and got back the #8 and #17 picks which they spent on Texas big man Jaxson Hayes and Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker. They also get Atlanta’s first round pick in 2020 which came from Cleveland. Atlanta will keep it if it is a top ten pick; if that happens, then New Orleans gets two second round picks in 2021.
So if our math’s right, and regular readers will know that’s never a certainty, that means that Griffin turned (or will turn) Davis into seven or possibly eight first round picks, one pick which can be swapped and one second round pick might be higher than it would have been otherwise.
They also got the #35 pick in the Atlanta trade which they used to take Brazilian Marcos Louzada Silva.
In the short term, they add Williamson, Ingram, Ball, Hart, Hayes and Alexander-Walker and, if they choose to use him this year, Louzada Silva.
The Williamson pick was out of their hands and a matter of luck but even so he’s likely a generational talent. Everyone else is young. Hayes is a guy they’ll have to wait on a bit as he matures but his talent is real and they need his help to replace Davis. Alexander-Walker brings outside shooting which is another need filled.
All things considered, it was a tour de force by Griffin who has made the Pelicans one of the great stories in the league and a team everyone will be watching.
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