The New Orleans Pelicans shocked plenty of people with their roaring finish to the 2021-22 season, advancing the NBA playoffs via the Play-In Tournament before giving the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns a rocky six-game battle in the first round of the postseason.
Led by CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valančiūnas, the Pelicans took a huge stride forward, despite being without Zion Williamson for the entire season, giving fans hope that their progress towards being a legitimate playoff contender isn't too far away.
The Pelicans aren't short on young talent either with Jose Alvarado, Herb Jones and Jaxson Hayes all contributing at different points, which bears the question, whether the Pelicans will trade the No. 8 pick for an established player who can help right away or add another young talent to their ranks.
The Pelicans can thank the Los Angeles Lakers for their fortune, keeping the lottery selection as it landed in the top 10, bearing even more fruit from the Anthony Davis trade.
So where do the Pelicans land in the draft order? Here is everything you need to know ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Pelicans draft picks 2022: When does New Orleans pick?
The Pelicans have the No. 8 overall pick in the first round and two second round selections.
- Round 1, No. 8: Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
- Round 2, No. 41: E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
- Round 2, No. 52: Karlo Matkovic, Mega Mozzart
Pelicans 2022 NBA draft order
|1||8. Dyson Daniels|
|2||41. E.J. Liddell|
|2||52. Karlo Matkovic|
Pelicans draft needs
With Zion Williamson set to return to the floor for the 2022-23 season, the Pelicans will take on a much different look. After giving the Suns a scare in the first round, the Pelicans will most certainly look to build upon a solid foundation.
- Perimeter stoppers: Drafting Herb Jones in 2021 was a strong start. And yet after ranking 18th in defensive efficiency last season, the Pelicans are still short on versatile defensive players. Neither Williamson, Ingram, McCollum or Valaciunas is making an All-Defensive team anytime soon which means New Orleans needs more players like Jones to help make up for defensive shortcomings.
- Rim protection: New Orleans ranked 26th in blocks and 28th in field goal percentage allowed on shots inside of six feet. While the point of attack needs addressing, the Pelicans need to find some source of consistent rim protection.
- Secondary ball-handler: Trading Lonzo Ball to the Bulls left a playmaking hole in the backcourt. While McCollum and Ingram are a first-rate bucket getters, neither is comfortable as a primary facilitator to get others consistently involved.
Pelicans mock draft 2022
Here are the latest projections for the Pelicans, according to TSN's draft guru Kyle Irving:
Round 1, No. 8: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
The Pelicans proved they're one of the league's best young cores with their run in the 2022 NBA Playoffs — and that was without Zion Williamson on the floor.
Add Mathurin into the mix and New Orleans will fill its need for more perimeter shooting while also gaining a secondary ball-handler and shot creator next to CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram.
Mathurin would help space the floor for Williamson, McCollum, Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas and complements their youthful group of defenders like Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado.
Round 2, No. 41. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette
Round 2, No. 52. (via UTA): Dominic Barlow, F, Overtime Elite