Steve: Pelicans land All-Star Jrue Holiday on draft night
Nobody expected Kentucky's Nerlens Noel to fall to the Pelicans at number six, and no one certainly thought New Orleans would end up with an All-Star point guard in the 2013 NBA Draft. But things don't often go as expected, do they?
When the Cavaliers took UNLV's Anthony Bennett 1st overall, it was a sign of the unpredictable night we were in store for. While Bennett was a lock to be taken in the top 10, he was not really thought of as the top selection in this class.
That pick was followed by a bevy of surprises, but none bigger then Noel's slide down the draft board. Yes, he is recovering from a torn ACL, but is an outstanding shot-blocker who runs the floor well. Had he never suffered the injury, there is no doubt he would have been the consensus number 1 overall pick.
So at this point of the Draft, there is nervous excitement amongst the media at Pelicans draft central about the prospect of Noel being teamed up with last year's top overall pick, Anthony Davis…and then it actually came to fruition. New Orleans' version of the Twin Towers was short lived, though, as rumblings of a trade started to spread like wildfire.
As it turned out, the Pelicans had traded the rights to Noel along with a protected 2014 1st round pick to Philadelphia. In return, the 76ers sent point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd overall pick in the 2013 draft back New Orleans' way . That 2nd round pick ended up being Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson.
So what to make of the madness? Great job by this Pelicans front office.
Holiday is a terrific player, and at 23 years old, is coming off his first All-Star season. He averaged around 18 points with 8 assists per game last year in Philly, and will immediately grab the reigns as the starting point guard for the Pelicans.
"Most importantly a quality person," Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News told us. "Jrue Holiday is as good as a person as you will find. Basketball wise, just steady improvement. Came into the league as a 19 year old and in his 4 years has progressed into the All-Star that he was this year."
GM Dell Demps could not speak on the trade, because it does still need league approval. However, no hang-ups are to be expected. Keep it locked on WWL Pelicans Radio for the latest as soon as we hear from the NBA and the Pelicans.