3 Best New Orleans Pelicans Draft Picks

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Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans attempts a free throw during a game against the Washington Wizards in December 2017.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Nov 16, 2023, 11:25 PM
  • Here’s a list of the best New Orleans Pelicans picks in franchise history.
  • Chris Paul leads the list of players New Orleans selected through the draft.
  • Other Pelicans players included in the list are Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson.

The New Orleans Pelicans are the second youngest NBA franchise, as they joined the league as an expansion team during the 2002-03 season. They were initially known as the Hornets for 11 seasons and have since rebranded to become the Pelicans in 2013. Because of how young the franchise is, they are one of the 11 NBA teams that have never won a championship and one of the five NBA teams never to reach the NBA Finals.

Although they haven’t experienced much success yet in the league, New Orleans has selected quality young talent through the NBA Draft to try and boost its chances in the NBA championship odds. Players like David West, Darren Collison, Buddy Hield, and Herb Jones have made their respective impacts on the team, but three players had the most significant contributions.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul is No. 1 on the list of the best New Orleans Pelicans draft picks in team history. The former Wake Forest star was drafted as the fourth overall pick in 2005 and quickly established himself as the primary playmaker of the team and one of the top point guards in the league. He put up an average of 16.1 points, 7.8 assists, and 5.1 rebounds in his first year to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2006.

Paul was also one of the players that played a huge role in helping the franchise clinch three playoff appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2011. The 6-foot point guard also represented New Orleans in four successive NBA All-Star Games from 2008 to 2011. Before being dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011, Paul played six seasons for the team and averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, and 4.6 rebounds in 425 games.

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis was the first No. 1 overall pick in the New Orleans Pelicans team history. He spearheaded the 2012 NBA Draft Class and instantly brought double-digit scoring and a solid defensive presence in his first year, averaging13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks to make it to the All-Rookie 1st Team in 2013. Since his decent rookie year, Davis has improved his numbers in the successive seasons.

The 6-foot-10 power forward has become a perennial NBA All-Star since his sophomore season as he consistently produced a double-double average. He also made the All-NBA 1st Team three times as a Pelican. Before he requested a trade out of the team in 2019, Davis helped the Pelicans reach the postseason twice, averaging 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 466 games across seven seasons.

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is the most hyped rookie in New Orleans Pelicans history because of his freakish athleticism in college playing for Duke. The team eventually won the Zion lottery in 2019 as they selected him as the No. 1 overall pick. Although he couldn’t continuously play for the team in his first five seasons, the 6-foot-6 forward is still one of the cornerstones of the team’s future.

Despite only playing for 24 games in his first year, Williamson was still able to crack a spot in the All-Rookie 1st Team in 2020. He was also selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game twice in 2021 and 2023, becoming the first Pelican draftee since Anthony Davis to participate in the All-Star Game. In his first 114 games, “Zanos” has averaged 25.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.