NBA Mock Draft: Pelicans trade up for Scoot
The New Orleans Pelicans badly want G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson, thought by most to be the second-best player in this draft. They also are reportedly growing tired of Zion Williamson: his injuries, his approach to rehab, his drive for the game, his lack of leadership. That’s a lot of smoke for there to be no fire.
However, the Charlotte Hornets are unlikely to be as interested in Williamson as the Pelicans would need them to be. In our mock they rebuff the trade offers of the Pels and take their guy at No. 2.
Since the night of the NBA Draft Lottery, the overwhelming word from every Draft and NBA Insider was that the Charlotte Hornets want to take Brandon Miller with the second overall pick. It’s possible they trick everyone and take Henderson, but it makes sense for them to be taking steps to keep the “mystery” to encourage teams to bring their best trade packages to the table. Still, it seems like Miller will be the guy at No. 2.
The 6’9″ forward fits the modern NBA perfectly. He had an All-American season at Alabama, displaying elite shooting and great finishing inside. He is a solid passer, a good defender and a surprisingly good rebounder. The Hornets need help at every position, but adding a two-way small forward is both the best bet in NBA team building and a perfect fit alongside LaMelo Ball.
Trade Alert! With Scoot Henderson still on the board at No. 3, the Pelicans find a more willing trade partner in the Portland Trail Blazers. If the Blazers are truly going to make a run at a championship during Damian Lillard’s prime they have to make a risky, high-upside bet like this. Ultimately, the Pelicans don’t get the overwhelming return they were hoping for Williamson, but they get to move to a new chapter built around Brandon Ingram and Scoot Henderson.
The Pelicans have cycled through a few different point guard prospects over the past few years, from Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Devonte Graham to Kira Lewis, Jr. Here they finally invest in one with both a high floor and a high ceiling. Everything about his draft profile screams a future All-Star, if not more. He is an elite athlete with a tight handle, an excellent feel for the game, great passing chops and the strength to finish inside.
He can be the second star alongside Brandon Ingram, with either CJ McCollum or Anfernee Simons tapped as the No. 3 option. Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Dyson Daniels are an excellent collection of two-way options to fill in around them. Find a reliable defensive center and suddenly this team is set up to be dangerous for the next decade.