by Steve Geller, Steve@wwl.com,posted Jun 25 2013 2:38PM
The 2013 NBA season now in the books; and yes Heat haters, Miami has been crowned back to back champions. But like the NFL, basketballs' season never seems to end as the draft is this Thursday night in Brooklyn.
While New Orleans selected their cornerstone franchise piece last year in power forward Anthony Davis, this year is monumentally important as well. It's the first draft in team history under their new moniker, THE PELICANS.
While the team doesn't hold the top overall pick this year, fans are still anxious to see who the Pelicans will select to team up with a slew of young talent as the franchise continues to build a contender. The Pelicans will look to find a new key piece to the puzzle when they select 6th overall.
While it may not sound that appealing, the 6th pick could still yield a very productive pro player. Here's a look at its history over the last 10 years:
2012 Damian Lillard, Portland (Weber State)
2011 Jan Vesely, Washington (Partizan Belgrade)
2010 Ekpe Udoh, Golden State (Baylor)
2009 Jonny Flynn, Minnesota (Syracuse)
2008 Danilo Gallinari, New York (Olimpia Milano)
2007 Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee (Guangdong Southern)
2006 Brandon Roy, Minnesota (Washington)
2005 Martell Webster, Portland (Seattle Preparatory School)
2004 Josh Childress, Atlanta (Stanford)
2003 Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers (Central Michigan)
*Other notable number 6 selections in NBA draft history include Shane Battier (2001), Antoine Walker (1996), Kenny Smith (1987), Larry Bird (1978) Adrian Dantley (1976), Lionel Hollins (1975) and Lenny Wilkens (1960).
So where does all this leave the Pelicans? Let's take a look at 6 that could be around at 6:
1. Victor Oladipo - Indiana, shooting guard
The only real question with this kid is...just how good can he be? He is an absolute terror on the defensive end and terrific at attacking the basket. You never have to question this kid's motor either.
2. Otto Porter – Georgetown, small forward
He's exactly what New Orleans could use on the wing - given his versatility as a scorer and reliability as a disciplined player. He will need to add strength, but all-in-all is a very safe pick.
3. Anthony Bennett – UNLV, power forward
While the Pelicans already have Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis at this position, Bennett has the potential to be a 20 point per game scorer, and I love his aggressiveness.
4. Alex Len – Maryland, center
A frontline of Davis and Len would be long and versatile with big upside. Len's lack of aggressiveness is a concern though, and he also needs to get stronger in the NBA. He is recovering from ankle surgery but should be ready for the start of training camp.
5. Trey Burke - Michigan, point guard
Speed is the name of the game with Burke. He's great at running the pick-and-roll and can create for himself as well as his teammates. Folks will knock his size (6 ft) for a point guard, but look at Chris Paul.
6. Ben McLemore – Kansas, shooting guard
He is one of the best shooters the draft has to offer, and we sure know New Orleans could use scoring. McLemore's ball-handling skills need some work and he'll have to prove that he has more to offer than just offense.