New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans have several clear needs come this year’s NBA Draft. These are three players that could step in and make an immediate impact.

Looking forward to the 2020 NBA Draft, there is little-to-no consensus among experts and novices alike when it comes to where players are going to land. Throw in the fact that the NBA regular season hasn’t come to a close and percentages for the lottery won’t be released until then, analysts everywhere have as good a guess as anyone as to where teams like the New Orleans Pelicans will land in the draft order.

More of a known commodity in the analytical community is team needs.

So, while it may be difficult to pinpoint exact draft positions, educated guesses can be easily made in reference to which player each team will grab whenever the NBA Draft is ultimately scheduled for 2020.

For the New Orleans Pelicans, the statistic to pay attention to in reference to team needs is defensive ranking. As of now, the Pels are ranked 18th in the league in defense.

Despite the defending capabilities of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors, the squad has remained in the latter half of the league in defense for the majority of the season. Not only do the Pels lack at the wing position in terms of defense (Brandon Ingram is capable, but not an elite defender and J.J. Redick has certainly lost a step on that end of the floor), the 10th-seeded team in the West could also use another rim protector.

With Favors averaging just over 24 minutes a game and Zion Williamson still learning the ropes on that end of the floor, a defensive presence down low could provide plenty of help for the Pelicans in the near future.

Offensively, with New Orleans going nearly 10-deep into their bench every single night, the need for another primary scorer isn’t as desirable. Zion leads all rookies in scoring, Ingram has elevated his game to All-Star levels, Holiday is one of the best scorers in team history, Ball has drastically improved his three-point shot and the list could go on for contributors offensively.

What wouldn’t hurt is adding someone who can create their own shot. Often, when the Pelicans offense has become stagnant and the ball-movement isn’t flowing, the young squad either turns the ball over or the possession results in an unnecessary chuck. The team needs someone who can take the rock in these situations and get a confident, well-executed shot off.



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