The former owner of the Charlotte and New Orleans Hornets, George Shinn, is among the worst in NBA history, and it is not because of his record. In fact, it is more about the person he was outside of the arena then anything else and the controversies that he was involved in. The fact that a NBA owner was involved in a controversy is nothing new but George Shinn was just plain awful.
George decided to move the Charlotte Hornets after the city turned on him and refused to show their support for the team following a sexual assault allegation made against Shinn in 1997 where a woman in Charlotte claimed he raped her. From that moment on, Shinn was ready to leave the city forever and started asking the city for support he knew they could not give him. Like when he asked for a new stadium to be built that was 100% paid by the people, or he would move the team. That was the last straw and he would then relocate to New Orleans. He admits that the only reason he left Charlotte was because of that sexual assault trial. How sad is that?
He would have the name changed to the Pelicans and would eventually sell the team to the NBA, who then sold it to Tom Benson, the New Orleans Saints franchise owner. Throughout the Pelicans time in New Orleans, since the 2002-03 season, they have seen good times and bad times, ups and downs, and, at one time, had a real contender. But they have struggled to build a strong support system for any of their superstars by failing to draft well over the past 13 years.
Let's take a look at all 23 draft selections the New Orleans Pelicans have made, since 2003, and give you a look at what could have been if they had another chance to select a player.
23 23. First Round in 2003: David West, PF
Original Selection: David West
For the better part of the New Millennium, David West manned the fort for the New Orleans Pelicans. He was there for four of their six playoff appearances including their 2007-08 run when they reached the Western Conference Semi-Finals, the closest they ever came to the NBA Finals. He was also, and this is something that can never be changed or beaten, the first player ever drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans.
During his time in New Orleans, David West averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game on 49% shooting. He was the King of the mid-range jump shot, taking almost 90% of all of his shots in that range. He developed his game each season, improving his shot until he became the second best player on the team. He then left for Indiana and is now a member of the Golden State Warriors.
22 22. Second Round in 2003: Kyle Korver, SG/F
Original Selection: James Lang
The first time around, the New Orleans Pelicans made a huge mistake by selecting James Lang, whom they ended up waiving later on in the year after Lang battled back injuries that kept him sidelined for most of his early career in the league. They saw him as a future star apparently and risked it all on this kid from high school that turned into a massive failure. Instead, they could have taken a man that is still in the league, Kyle Korver.
The red hot shooting Shooting Guard/Small Forward earned a reputation with the Atlanta Hawks as one of the league's toughest outside shooters, nearly impossible to defend, when on. He has taken his shot and turned his defensive side around to become a key role player for a few teams. His addition to the Pelicans back then would have been a massive plus for a team that struggled to score in the postseason. Imagine Chris Paul in 2005 joining West and Korver, among the rest of the team leaders.
21 21. First Round in 2004: Trevor Ariza, SG/SF
Original Selection: J.R. Smith
This re-draft selection was the toughest for one reason, did we want offense or defense?
J.R. Smith is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA that is responsible for only one thing, scoring. Ray Allen was great in that role when he played with LeBron James in Miami and also in Boston along side Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. That is what J.R. Smith brings to the lineup, he can spread out the defense, leaving his teammates more space to create better shots simply because of his range and ability to score. Trevor Ariza, however, is a great defender that averages about 10 points per game for his career.
Looking back at the choice the Pelicans made in 2004, this is still tough, even after we explained the choices between Smith and Ariza. But since we are looking at the big picture for the Pelicans, Trevor becomes the better option to build a team around.
20 20. Second Round in 2004: TRADE
Original Selection: Tim Pickett
By the time the New Orleans Pelicans selected their second round pick in 2004, the choices were so thin that they settled for Tim Pickett, a Small Forward who played at Daytona State, Indian River State, and Florida State. He was a last resort selection that never even got a chance to play for the Pelicans.
If the New Orleans Pelicans knew exactly what each and every player available in the 2004 draft was going to become, they would have not drafted anyone with the 44th pick, in the second round. Instead, they would have traded it away for a future draft pick or prospect, maybe even to move up in this draft. But they just simply would not have, nor do we think they should have, re-drafted anyone else in 2004.
19 19. First Round in 2005: Chris Paul, PG
Original Selection: Chris Paul
Chris Paul was and is the second best draft pick the New Orleans Pelicans made. In fact, he just might be the greatest statistical Point Guard in NBA history. It all starts with his ability to pass the ball better than 99.9% of the other players in the league. In NBA history, only five players have ever averaged more than 9 assists per game for their career and only John Stockton had a higher per game average, with 10.5, than Chris Paul. Kevin Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and John Wall are the other three members of that exclusive list.
But if you take it one step further, and look at the overall career per game averages, you will find an even more impressive statistic. Chris Paul averages 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game. No one in the history of the league has come close to those averages and he has been doing it for 12 years now.
18 18. Second Round in 2005: Lou Williams, SG
Original Selection: Brandon Bass
Although he would turn into a decent Power Forward for other teams, Brandon Bass was just not a good fit for the New Orleans Pelicans. In his two seasons with the Pelicans, he only managed to get less than 10 minutes per game and averaged 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds. He just could not get into the lineup and earn the amount of playing time he would eventually get in Orlando and Boston. So compared to Lou Williams, this choice would be an easy one and they should take the guy who comes off the bench and scores 20 points a game.
Lou Williams is possibly the best sixth man in the NBA today. Because of the DeMarcus Cousins trade between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, many fans failed to acknowledge the magnitude of the Houston Rockets acquiring Lou Williams, nor did many people even notice that it has just turned an already powerful offense into a megapower that could be the Warriors toughest hurdle in the playoffs. With his ability to score off the bench, Lou would have added an amazing amount of value to the Pelicans in 2005, the same year they nabbed Chris Paul in the draft.
17 17. First Round in 2006: Kyle Lowry, PG
Original Selection: Hilton Armstrong
Every time you take a look at the 2006 NBA Draft, you realize just how bad things were in the Pelicans front office. Regardless of what was happening behind the scenes, in real life, the front office was failing to evaluate talent correctly, forcing them into situations like drafting Hilton Armstrong. The Pelicans passed up on so much talent that year that it is difficult to understand just what they were thinking when drafting Hilton Armstrong.
Instead, if given a second chance, the Pelicans should have drafted Kyle Lowry, an All-Star Point Guard that would have turned into a terrific complimentary PG to Chris Paul, possibly even becoming a Small Forward with the Pelicans, maybe even just a Shooting Guard. It all depends on how they put the lineup together before you can assume where Lowry would be playing. But drafting him is without a doubt the best possible option with the 12th pick because they also have the 15th pick next.
16 16. First Round in 2006: Paul Millsap, SF
Original Selection: Cedric Simmons
How did Paul Millsap drop so far in the 2006 draft? He was not a secret weapon that Louisiana Tech failed to unleash. He was a monster in college, averaging 18.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, for all three years in school. But because of his size, he was considered too small for a Power Forward or Center in the NBA, even though Charles Barkley is in the Hall of Fame and was the exact same size.
Since the Pelicans grabbed another dud that year in Cedric Simmons, Paul Millsap would be the next best thing to replace that failure. If you look at who we have just drafted in the last few years, then you would notice the Pelicans would have a ton of talent, leaving Millsap to do what he does best, play defense and grab rebounds.
15 15. Second Round in 2006: P.J. Tucker, SF
Original Selection: Marcus Vinicius
Over the past couple of seasons, P.J. Tucker has emerged as one of the NBA's best Small Forward defenders. He is tough, stands 6'6", 250 pounds and is possibly the best lockdown defender from the Small Forward position. So the Toronto Raptors went out and traded for him just a few weeks ago, practically stealing him from the Phoenix Suns.
He has grown a reputation for guarding just about anyone in the league and shutting them down in the process. He has defended against LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, stopping both of them in their tracks. He has even shut down Paul George too. His list of players is as long as there are Smith's in the phonebook. The Pelicans needed his specialty back in 2006 and could have turned their roster into a Finals contender.
14 14. First Round in 2007: Arron Afflalo, PG
Original Selection: Julian Wright
When the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Julian Wright in 2007, he was supposed to be a Top Ten talent out of the University of Kansas where he showcased his skills every weekend. Because of his size, and his shockingly quick speed and overall athleticism, Wright earned a reputation for being a prospect that had more raw potential than anyone else in the draft that year. Since he played for Kansas, he was constantly playing the best of the best in college, weekly, and proved to be one of their best players consistently. However, his weaknesses outweighed his strengths and he flopped in New Orleans.
Looking back at that year's draft, the Pels best option would have been to grab Arron Afflalo, a Guard from UCLA, instead and use him in a backup role, maybe even as a sixth man. His ability to score is the main thing he has been able to do throughout his 9-year NBA career, where he is averaging 11.3 points per game on 45.1% shooting. His talent became most evident when he played in Orlando and finally got a chance to be the scorer he has always been.
13 13. Second Round in 2007: Marc Gasol, C
Original Selection: Adam Haluska
From day one in the league, Marc Gasol proved to be an above-average Center with plenty of potential. During his rookie season, he started 75 games, playing in all 82 games that year for Memphis too, while averaging 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He improved the following season, across the board, and has earned three All-Star game selections, including this year's game. He is the younger brother of another NBA All-Star, and future Hall of Famer, Pau Gasol.
If this redrafting event was real, by 2007, the New Orleans Pelicans would have put together a team featuring Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Lou Williams, Paul Milsap, David West, and P.J. Tucker. The one thing that they are missing is a Center and Marc Gasol, who stands 7'2" would fill out their lineup quite nicely. This lineup alone would be worthy of a possible NBA Finals.
12 12. First Round in 2008: Goran Dragic, PG/SG
Original Selection: Darrell Arthur
Just one year after drafting Marc Gasol in a redraft, the New Orleans Pelicans would be sitting at 27th overall and in need of another future superstar. Since they virtually wasted their original pick by taking Darrell Arthur and selling it to the Portland Trail Blazers. They literally sold the pick to another team, accepting cash in exchange for Arthur without getting a single player in return. If they could get another shot at it, we are sure they will take a proven talent like Goran Dragic.
The "Dragon" from Slovenia, spent the first three seasons in the NBA just trying to figure out the game. It was not until he got to Phoenix, for the second time of his career, that he turned into a starting Guard averaging 18 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steal per game. He has since moved on to Miami and is now averaging 20.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game, while having his best NBA season to date.
11 11. First Round in 2009: Darren Collison, PG
Original Selection: Darren Collison
Looking back, the New Orleans Pelicans most likely regret ever trading away Darren Collison after just one season in the league. They sent him and James Posey to the Houston Rockets for Trevor Ariza, a move that was good at the time but left them with a glaring need for a backup Point Guard and Collison would have easily fit that bill.
Darren Collison has stayed consistent throughout his NBA career, usually averaging 14 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and a steal per game. Even in his rookie year, his one and only season in New Orleans, he averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.5 rebounds. The 2009 Draft was very top heavy so by the time the Pelicans got their pick, the pool of talent was very thin.
There are a few other options for the Pelicans, like Patrick Beverly, DeMarre Carroll, Marcus Thornton, or Danny Green. However, Darren Collison remains a good choice that they would keep if given another shot at it.
10 10. First Round in 2010: Eric Bledsoe, PG
Original Selection: Cole Aldrich
The 2010 Draft class was stacked with Wildcats, mostly those from the University of Kentucky. In fact, Kentucky had five players selected, all of them in the first round. John Wall was the first pick followed by DeMarcus Cousins at 5th overall, Patrick Patterson at 14th, Eric Bledsoe at 18th, and Daniel Orton was the last one taken at 29th. Overall, the entire Kentucky starting lineup from the previous season was drafted in the first 29 selections of the NBA draft.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins have already become a Top-3 talent at their positions while Eric Bledsoe had to wait until he got to the Suns before turning into the shooter he was in college. He was originally taken by the LA Clippers but failed to establish himself in their rotation. Once he got to Phoenix, he turned into a legit Point Guard, averaging 21.3 points, 6.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game this season alone.
9 9. Second Round in 2011: Isaiah Thomas, PG
Original Selection: Josh Harrellson
It is simply amazing to see so many superstars emerge from the 2nd round of the NBA draft over the years. Maybe it is simply because of their age or immaturity, or maybe it is simply something they use to fire them up and prove everyone else wrong, regardless of what happens, players like Isaiah Thomas have worked hard to overcome his 2nd round selection and all of the team's that passed on him as a rookie to become one of the best Point Guards in the NBA. He may even be a MVP candidate this season after emerging as one of the top scorers in the league. This season he is averaging 29.5 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.7 rebounds as the leader of the shockingly good Boston Celtics, who are right behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, just from what he has done in 2016-17 alone, any team would love to go back in time and draft him. The chances he would even be available in a redraft would be slim to none, but that is not something we are worried about. We are more worried about the Pelicans going back in time and redrafting from their slot in the 2nd round.
8 8. First Round in 2012: Anthony Davis, PF
Original Selection: Anthony Davis
In 2012, Anthony Davis became the easiest selection the New Orleans Pelicans have ever made in franchise history. From his very first game at the University of Kentucky, Anthony Davis was a special talent that was one day going to become a superstar. He was built for the NBA and still had a ton of growing up and maturing to do. But he was still grading as a no-doubt first pick in the 2012 draft because he was going to become a top-five player one day.
He can shoot from all over the court, even outside the perimeter, and defend better than most of the players in the NBA already. There was no one else the Pelicans could have, or should have, drafted to replace this choice. It was the best thing they ever did with a draft pick and will remain so for many years to come.
7 7. First Round in 2012: Draymond Green, F
Original Selection: Austin Rivers
Anyone can criticize an organization for making choices that turned out to be less than ideal, especially when you look back and see all of the other talent that they passed on. But you need to take a step back before passing judgement because, at the time, Austin Rivers was actually a good pick. He would have fit into the lineup nicely and would counteract the low-post talents of Anthony Davis.
However, five years later, we see that Draymond Green as emerged into possibly the second best player in that stacked 2012 draft. Without taking anything away from his overall talent, we would love to see him play for another team, possibly with less talent, and see how he performs as one of the main scorers then. In this case, the Pelicans would have had AD and Draymond Green, leaving them with a young and talented roster that could have used a couple of veterans to round them out into a title contender within a few years.
6 6. Second Round in 2012: Kyle O'Quinn, PF/C
Original Selection: Darius Miller
The depth of the 2012 draft was so thick that even late into the second round, there is still talented stars emerging. Kyle O'Quinn is not an All-Star big man, but he is a pretty solid backup and would have become a great one behind Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, he was selected by the Orlando Magic in 2012, who traded him in 2015 to the New York Knicks, who then preceded to sign him to a four-year, $16 million contract.
He has done a nice job of filling in for Joakim Noah this season and has even started a few games. Kyle is one of those guys that understands his role on the team and that he has to fight hard to earn the playing time he gets, it will not be handed to him easily. He has career averages are 5.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and just under a block per game. Like we said, he is not going to be making any All-Star teams but he will help the All-Stars on your team as a great backup.
5 5. Second Round in 2013: Giannis Antetokounmpo, G/F
Original Selection: Nerlens Noel
The NBA has a future Lebron James and no one saw it coming, especially the Milwaukee Bucks, who selected him, Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo, 15th overall in the 2013 NBA draft. Giannis is one of the most amazing talents in the NBA today and has improved in every single aspect of his game since day one. He was considered a project that needed some work to become the superstar he is today and now look at him.
Just look at Giannis Antetokounmpo's improvement from his rookie season until this season. He has increased his point average from 6.8 to 23.4, rebound average from 4.4 to 6.7, assist average from 1.9 to 3.4, steal average from 0.8 to 1.1, and block average from 0.8 to 1.3, all averages are per game and have turned him into one of the leagues best overall players. He is a MVP candidate this season as the league's second best Small Forward, right behind King James himself.
4 4. Second Round in 2015: Nikola Radicevic, PG
Original Selection: Nikola Radicevic
The New Orleans Pelicans had only one pick in the 2015 draft and it was not until the 56th selection, fourth to last overall selection. So when we re-draft the selection, we had to step back and take a more futuristic look to the list of prospects and Nikola Radicevic is quite possibly the best possible selection that was taken past the 56th slot in 2015.
He is a future star Point Guard that was taken by a General Manager responsible for drafting future projects today instead of instant stars tomorrow like Rudy Gobert, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray. Tim Connelly, Denver Nuggets GM, is the man behind the curtain that drafted Nikola Radicevic with every intention on molding him into a star in this league, just not today.
3 3. First Round in 2016: Buddy Hield, SG
Original Selection: Buddy Hield
Although it is too early to tell, and he is now wearing purple and silver, Buddy Hield was a great pick at the sixth spot by the New Orleans Pelicans. Although it took him a few minutes to get started, by the time Buddy Hield earned some playing time with the Pelicans, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings. But before he did, he was averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He even had a few big games with 20 plus points.
In Sacramento, he is averaging 13.2 points on 24.5 minutes per game and is slowly growing into a future superstar on the Kings. He may not become the next Stephen Curry, like the Kings owner seems to think he will, but he is easily going to be a scorer like C.J. McCollum, Klay Thompson, or Kevin Durant. He has the shot, he just needs to focus on his defense and he will become a great NBA player one day.
2 2. Second Round in 2016: Isaiah Whitehead, PG
Original Selection: David Michineau
When it comes to late round selections, especially from the 2016 NBA Draft, there are only a few that have made a dent this season and surprisingly, Isaiah Whitehead is one of the few surprises this season. He was originally drafted by the Utah Jazz and then immediately traded to Brooklyn in exchange for Marcus Paige. He then preceded to sign a four year deal worth about $5 million to play for the Nets and he has not disappointed.
Playing for the league's worst team has its' benefits and Isaiah Whitehead has taken advantage of every single one, averaging about 22 minutes a game as the team's backup Point Guard. With Jeremy Lin battling injuries all season, Whitehead got a rare chance to get into the lineup fairly quickly, compared to if he remained in Utah. He is averaging 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game and is well on his way to earning his four year contract.
1 1. Second Round in 2016: Diamond Stone, C
Original Selection: Diamond Stone
The New Orleans Pelicans went ahead and drafted Diamond Stone with the 40th pick in the draft but traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers the same day. He has dealt with some issues throughout the year involving his left knee which has forced him to miss most of the season and even be sent to the D-League where he has played for Santa Cruz Warriors and Salt Lake City Stars.
His potential is much higher than just about anyone else in the draft by the 40th pick, and has even been compared to Nikola Jokic as far as his future in the league. He has the size and skill to be a dominate defender with plenty of athleticism that can grab a rebound like Kendrick Perkins. His ability is on the defensive side of the ball and could be key to his future success in the NBA.
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