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Who the New Orleans Pelicans Should Target in the 2015 NBA Draft

this is a discussion within the Pelicans Community Forum; The New Orleans Pelicans will pick near the end of the second round in this year’s upcoming draft. Draft Express predicts that their selection will come at No. 56. While not as sweet as owning a first-rounder, the Pellies should ...

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Old 05-04-2015, 09:30 AM   #1
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Who the New Orleans Pelicans Should Target in the 2015 NBA Draft

The New Orleans Pelicans will pick near the end of the second round in this year’s upcoming draft. Draft Express predicts that their selection will come at No. 56.

While not as sweet as owning a first-rounder, the Pellies should still be content with having any say at all on June 25. After its best season in four years, New Orleans needs to strengthen the bench that held this team back at times during the 2014-15 season.

With Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca both headed for free agency, opting to draft some size might not be a bad idea. But what would deepen this roster more than a big man would be a point guard or a three-and-D wing.

Luckily for the Pelicans, there is talent to be had even in the last sector of the draft. Luis Scola (55th), Monta Ellis (40th), Michael Redd (43rd), Manu Ginobili (57th), Paul Millsap (47th) and Isaiah Thomas (60th) were all taken late. So there’s definitely hope.

But before the ‘Cans worry about drafting a player like that, they should cross their fingers that this rookie at least makes the team next fall.

Let’s take a look at a pair of realistically attainable prospects who could fit with the Pelicans.

Joseph Young, Oregon G

Draft Express has Oregon’s sensational guard Joseph Young falling to 57th, one spot after New Orleans is projected to pick.

If the Pac-12 Player of the Year is available, general manager Dell Demps needs to snatch him right up. Young is a combo guard capable of playing either the 1 or 2, and that versatility would come in handy for the Pels.

Eric Gordon is the team’s only reliable shooting guard, and Jrue Holiday’s battle with injuries has created an opening for a player like Young, who could play anywhere in the backcourt.

The 22-year-old scoring machine has drawn some jaw-dropping comparisons and deserves a chance at the pro level. Here’s what a Pac-12 coach told NBA.com’s David Aldridge:
The best guy in our league is Joe Young. He's a poor man's Steph Curry. People forget, Steph came out of college, and he couldn't really dribble like that. Steph became that player. He didn't walk in the door that way. Young can shoot the ball, put it on the floor good enough. People are going to say he can't put the ball on the floor and he's not really a point guard.

Now he's player of the year ... He has the cockiness. He can get to the rim. Got some toughness about him. That dude can play, man. That team was supposed to finish eighth in the conference and they finished second.

Young carried the Ducks during his senior year, averaging 20.7 points on 44.8 percent shooting (35.7 3PT), 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals. Against Wisconsin in the round of 32, Young went for a game-high 30 points while shooting 12-of-25 from the field. Once this kid got going, he was nearly unstoppable—in college, at least.

"Obviously, he's not going to do that at the NBA level," an NBA GM told Aldridge. "But he does have the athleticism, the quickness to get to the basket, which could be intriguing."

The 6’2’, 178-pound Young won’t dominate anyone with his strength, but he’s a shifty, sweet-shooting scorer capable of putting up points in a hurry.

New Orleans’ bench averaged just 31.9 points per game this season, 18th-most in the league according to Hoop Stats. It’s a unit that could definitely use an offensive weapon like Young.

Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse F/C

Let’s say Young gets snagged before the Pels pick, and the team doesn’t love any of the guards left on the board. What then?

Go big.

There’s a possibility that some size-deficient team overspends on Ajinca and/or Asik this summer, leaving the Pels with just Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson inside.

Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas is someone to consider late in Round 2. While undersized at 6’9”, the big fella proved to be quite a force for Jim Boeheim this season, filling up the stat sheet with 17.5 points (55.2 percent), 10.6 rebounds and 2.9 swats per outing.

The Pels need a player capable of holding his own offensively but also on the other end. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Pelicans had the No. 22 defense in the league, but the shot-swatting Christmas would help in that regard.

Christmas weighs in at a strong 250 pounds and could hold his own against opposing power forwards. Some centers might prove to be a problem, but Davis can stick with anyone, big or small, in this league.

AD, known for his freakishly long arms, measured a 7’5.5” wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine. At the LeBron James Camp, Christmas was determined to own a 7’3” wingspan, which is pretty substantial.

Back in February, Bleacher Report draft expert Jonathan Wasserman called Christmas “a powerful yet clever back-to-the-basket scorer, with the ability to separate and turn over either shoulder.”

His bruising post-up style would be a nice contrast to Davis’ uber-athletic aerial attack and smooth outside game.

Christmas’ lack of height for his position is a definite turnoff, but everything else about the 23-year-old would be valuable for the Pelicans.

All stats are accurate courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more New Orleans Pelicans news on BleacherReport.com

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