New Orleans Pelicans: 2019 NBA Draft grades

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Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images) /

No. 17 pick: Nickeil Alexander-Walker

The Pelicans restored some of the shine by selecting Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker with the 17th pick. The Canadian guard, cousin of the Los Angeles Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (that family loves its hyphens), is a great shooter with a good feel for the game, and despite the knock on him being that he’s too skinny, his length allows him to compete on defense.

Alexander-Walker struggled to make shots during the last couple months of Virginia Tech’s season, but that’s because the team had been depleted by injuries and he was forced to play a facilitating role. Similar to the Clippers Landry Shamet last season, Alexander-Walker doesn’t project as a very good pure point guard, but unleashing him in that kind of role, a long combo guard who can shoot multiple ways and break down adjusting defenses when given the chance, will see him thrive.

The one flaw with the Pelicans roster is that it is light on shooting; Zion isn’t great there yet and Hayes can’t shoot outside of 15 feet at all. Combine that with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram and spacing could get tight. With Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart, some of those concerns are alleviated now. Make no mistake, NAW (nickname pending!) will be able to play right away:

The Pelicans got another good one.

Grade: A