History suggests Pelicans can get a solid player 14th overall

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David Griffin and Willie Green

There was no lightning in a bottle Tuesday night, no manna from Heaven in the NBA Draft Lottery process for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Entering the Lottery sweepstakes 14th overall, the Pelicans ended up exactly at that spot, with its name called first in the made for television event.

While the standard train of thought is hit or miss picking basically midway through the first round, there have been many hits in that spot over the years.

Perhaps the most significant 14th overall selection in the draft came in 1983 when the Houston Rockets chose hometown hero Clyde Drexler out of Houston.

Born in New Orleans, Drexler had a marvelous 15-year career and was a 10-time All-Star. Drexler won an NBA championship and was a prominent member of “The Dream Team,” the United States Olympic team in 1991 that dominated all opponents in winning a Gold Medal. Drexler is a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Bam Adebayo was the 14th pick in the 2017 draft and he is a star for the Miami Heat, earning All-Star honors twice. Adebayo led the Heat to the 2020 NBA Finals and to the Eastern Conference finals for a second straight year this season.

Michael Porter Jr. is a primary contributor for the Western Conference top seed Denver and he was picked 14th in 2018. The son of former University of New Orleans star guard Michael Porter, the Nuggets star averaged 17.5 points per game in the regular season, his fourth in the league.

Marcus Morris was the 14th pick in 2011. Morris just completed his 12th season in the NBA, averaging 12.3 points per game in his solid career.

Luke Ridnour was a solid player for 13 years in the league and he was selected 14th in 2003. Ridnour enjoyed a 12-year career, averaging in double figures in seven different seasons and averaging 4.5 assists per game.

Troy Murphy went 14th overall in 2001 and he played 12 seasons in the league. Murphy averaged in double figures in nine seasons and shot 39 percent from 3-point range.

In 1989, Tim Hardaway was the 14th overall pick and he was an absolute star over his 13 years in the league. Hardaway averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 assists per game while averaging 20 or more points in five different seasons. Hardaway earned first-team All-NBA honors in the 1996-97 season and was a five-time All-Star.

“Thunder” Dan Majerle, the 14th overall selection in 1988, played 14 seasons in the NBA. Majerle was a three-time All-Star, averaging 11.7 points per game in his fine career.

Wayne “Tree” Rollins went to Atlanta with the 14th overall pick in 1977. Rollins enjoyed one of the longest careers ever, playing 18 years in the league. Rollins was one of the top defensive centers and shot blockers throughout his career.

Hal Greer was 14th in 1958 and he was simply outstanding, playing 15 years in the league. Greer was simply outstanding, averaging 19.2 points per game. Greer was a 10-time All-Star, ranking as one of the two best-ever 14th overall picks in league history, along with Drexler. Greer won an NBA championship with Philadelphia in 1967.

Ironically, the Pelicans have never had the 14th overall pick. The closest was picking 13th in 2020, when New Orleans selected Kira Lewis Jr. and in 2007 when New Orleans chose Julian Wright No. 13 overall.

Clearly, New Orleans has fared well with later first-round picks and even second-round picks.

The best lower first-round pick was David West, whom New Orleans chose 18th overall in 2003. West was a good player for a long time and earned a pair of All-Star appearances while playing here. West got two NBA championship rings with Golden State.

Most recently, the Pelicans struck gold in 2021, acquiring Trey Murphy III with the 17th pick overall in a deal with Memphis while Herb Jones was the 35th overall choice in 2021. Both are budding stars entering their third seasons in the league.

J.R. Smith was the 18th overall pick in 2014 and he enjoyed a long career, playing 16 years in the league. Smith averaged 12.4 points per game and was part of two NBA championship teams.

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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