The New Orleans Pelicans have made their intentions clear about their position in the 2023 NBA Draft and their desire to move up, specifically for point guard Scoot Henderson. The Pelicans have long been searching for a true point guard to spearhead their offense, and they believe Henderson could be that guy. However, he’s expected to go in the top three picks of the draft and the Pelicans would have to give up a lot of assets to reach that spot from the No. 14 pick.
Here’s a look at what New Orleans could potentially look to do in the draft Thursday.
The first path would be to trade all the way up to No. 2 or 3, depending on what the Hornets decide to do. The Pelicans do have the immediate help the Trail Blazers would want for the No. 3 pick, but does New Orleans want to blow up a team that was among the best in the Western Conference when everyone was healthy? Even for a player of Henderson’s potential, a move into the top 3 from the 14th pick might be too much. There are rumors Zion Williamson would be dealt due to his health concerns, but it’s hard to see New Orleans parting with any of the four key starters from last year’s team.
The second and more likely path is a move up from 14 into the top 10, likely between 6 and 8. That likely gives New Orleans a chance to land one of Anthony Black, Cason Wallace or Jalen Hood-Schifino while not having to sacrifice major assets. The Pelicans do have some filler contracts like Herbert Jones, Trey Murphy and Jaxson Hayes to facilitate this type of move. They would need the draft board to fall their way a bit, but this path seems more palatable than attempting to chase Henderson in the top 3.