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NBA Trial Draft Results: Who Will the Pelicans Take No. 8? Forecasts vary. | Pelicans

Of the 13 teams that received lottery picks in the NBA draft next week, only one made the playoffs this season.

About two months after the end of a hard-fought first-round streak against the Phoenix Suns, the New Orleans Pelicans will go into the draft as the eighth pick.

The Pelicans have the opportunity to add a talented figure to the core, which includes a pair of All-Star forwards, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram; high-scoring leading defenseman CJ McCollum; and productive young role players like Herb Jones, José Alvarado and Trey Murphy.

With one week left until the draft, here’s what three different sources suggest the Pelicans will do with their first-round pick, and our analysis of each pick.

Ringer

Choice: Benedict Maturin, 6’6″ Wing, Arizona

Ringer says: Maturin’s shooting prowess would make him an excellent candidate to team with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. But he can also play with the ball, giving it to another attacker. In fact, the Pelicans can be a team that can have five ball carriers on the court at the same time, and each of them can initiate attack sets by dribbling the ball around the court. Maturin seems like the type of prospect who will immediately shine in the Pelicans and have room to grow without any pressure.

Our analysis: The Pelicans have interviewed Maturin but don’t plan on having him train with New Orleans until next week’s draft, a league source said. On paper, Maturin is logical. He shot 38.3% from three-point range on five attempts per game during two seasons in Arizona. The Pelicans, ranked 24th in 3-point shooting and 27th in 3-point percentage, need bracing around the Williamson-Ingram-McCollum trio. Mathurin is a great jumper and would make the Pelicans more dynamic in transitions. One of his biggest weaknesses, possession of the ball, may be somewhat mitigated by the fact that there are already so many talented creators in New Orleans.

ESPN

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Choice: Schaedon Sharp, 6’5″ Wing, Kentucky

ESPN says: The Pelicans have fewer requirements for any particular position than other lottery teams. New Orleans has four loyal starters and plenty of young talent in every position, giving him tremendous depth and role players to plug almost any hole. Selecting Sharpe and letting him move slowly would be wise. Sharp has an elite physique with his exceptional physique, height and explosive strength, as well as his ability to shoot dynamically around the perimeter and the potential to earn huge dividends in the future.

Our analysis: It’s been almost a year since Sharpe played five-on-five basketball. He graduated from high school early and joined Kentucky as a mid-year entrant, but never played a game for the Wildcats. The No. 1 high school player of 2022, Sharpe is a talented scorer in isolation with a lot of footprints. He can do all kinds of hard throws from the outside, and he’s a smooth, explosive jumper. It would be interesting to see what the Pelicans do if he drops to eighth. He has high potential.

Bleach Report

Choice: Schaedon Sharp, 6’5″ Wing, Kentucky

Bleach’s report says: If an unexpected name can shake up the top four, we hear it’s Sharpe. There are some rumors of a top-four team showing additional interest, though it’s hard to imagine him climbing that high considering GMs are scoring Sharp on the 2021 AAU tape and practice. The Sacramento Kings would make the most sense given how his shooting/shooting would match De’Aaron Fox. He appears in conversations for the Detroit Pistons at number 5 and probably for every team picking sixth through tenth places.

Our analysis: The Pelicans are showing serious interest in G League Ignite defenseman Dyson Daniels and Maturin, according to league sources. If both are out at number 8 and Sharp is still available, the Pelicans will have to make a decision. They could have bet on Sharp or traded in the first round, as they did last year. Sharpe has an NBA physique (wingspan of 6’11”) and NBA athleticism (he is reportedly well over 40″ tall). He may be too talented for New Orleans to pass up on him, even if there are many unknowns about him.

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