Can The NBA Draft Lottery Exorcise The Pelicans’ Demons?
The last time the Pelicans were this high up in the NBA Draft Lottery, the ping pong balls fell their way and they ended up with Anthony Davis.
Clearly, New Orleans isn't going to shoot up to the #1 overall spot, but can they find another building block to go along with AD and cure their curse? I don't think those are unfair expectations. With names like Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, Kentucky's Jamal Murray and Providence's Kris Dunn, is it crazy to think one of them would fall to the Pels?
The only choice as a fan is to buy into the hope. The only other option is crippling depression and a possible drinking problem. Stay away from the darkness, and look for the light.
Sure, the Pelicans could draft another Austin Rivers too. That wouldn't be ideal, but there's a lot of guys with major upside in this year's draft. When a senior stud like Michigan State's Denzel Valentine is projected in the late 1st Round, that says something about the talent pool. Even getting Valentine looks attractive, when you look at how he could help the franchise. The last player Tom Izzo loved and coached that got looked over in the draft was named Draymond Green, who happens to be in the process of creating history with the Golden State Warriors.
With guys like this on the board, the real pressure on the Pelicans is to not whiff. Some projections have them going with Dragan Bender, a 7-footer from Croatia. Could he be another Kristaps Porzingis? Probably not, but I'm not an NBA scout, and I haven't seen any of his film. All I know is, if they take a flier on a guy, it better pan out.
The reality is, if New Orleans swings and misses on this year's draft pick, it's going to be brutal. Injuries robbed the franchise of an entire season with Anthony Davis, and they desperately need to add another viable, young piece into the mix to keep things on the up-and-up.
Let's not get caught up in how dire the circumstances are. Try to picture the best case scenario. If it's difficult, just go back to before you knew the Pelicans would have Anthony Davis.
I remember exactly where I was when I thought things were going to change for the Pels. After Chris Paul left the city, New Orleans needed something to replace the gaping wound left by Eric Gordon's injury. Some friends and I were at a wing joint, hoping for the best. We had no idea our wildest dreams would come true. Hell, I didn't even think it was a possibility the Pels would get the top pick, but the ping pong balls were fortuitous on that fine day. I jumped up from the barstool I was sitting on, along with my friends, as soon as Monty Williams flipped over his card revealing the #1 overall pick.
At that moment in time, I didn't know the future would be filled with injuries and crushing disappointment. I was full of hope, and a jubilant air wrapped me up in the fantasy of a franchise competing for championships.
I just want that feeling back, and the NBA Draft Lottery is teasing me.
Be kind, sweet ping pong balls. Roll right, and fix the flow of bad mojo going into the city of New Orleans. The demons in the Smoothie King Center need to be exorcised. It's time to get our spirit, and our hope, back as fans. Flock up and fly right, Pelicans. I can't take another season of this pain.