Inside the Numbers: Does De’Andre Hunter end up in New Orleans?

De’Andre HunterThe Los Angeles Lakers, at #4, had seemed to be an ideal landing spot for UVA prospect De’Andre Hunter, but then the Trade That Changed the NBA happened.

The Lakers traded away most of their roster, and the #4 pick, for Anthony Davis, pairing Davis with LeBron James, and presumably a bucket and a mop, as the latest effort to build a winner in Tinseltown.

The trade sent that #4 pick to New Orleans, which of course also has the #1 pick, which will certainly be used on Duke phenom Zion Williamson.

Could Hunter end up with the Pelicans alongside his former ACC rival?

He would seem to be the best available player on the board at 4, assuming Williamson goes at 1, then Memphis goes with Ja Morant at 2 and the New York Knicks then go with R.J. Barrett at 3.

The choice at 4 would seem to come down to Hunter, Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, another big guard, and either Darius Garland or Coby White, point guards from Vanderbilt and North Carolina, respectively.

New Orleans doesn’t need a point guard. Incumbent starter Jrue Holiday is coming off a career year, averaging 21.2 points and 7.7 assists, shooting 47.2 percent from the floor.

It would be intriguing to match Holiday in the backcourt with Lonzo Ball, acquired in the Davis trade with the Lakers, to give the Pelicans a couple of big guards (Ball is 6’6”, Holiday 6’4”) who can both handle and create.

The Pels also fleeced the Lakers for 6’9” small forward Brandon Ingram, another former Dukie, who averaged 18.3 points per game and shot 49.7 percent from the field before an issue with a blood clot in his right shoulder ended his 2018-2019 season in March.

It’s not hard to imagine a starting five with Williamson, Holiday, Ball, Hunter or Ingram and yet another former Dukie, Jahlil Okafor (8.2 ppg, 4.7 rebs/g, 58.6% FG in 2018-2019), at center.

You’d have two creators at guard, Williamson as a beast in the post, and basically two small forwards who can spot up and knock down threes – and you could be interchangeable defensively 1-4, with Okafor on the back end to protect the rim.

Then your rotation guys include 6’5” guard Josh Hart (7.8 ppg, 40.7% FG with the Lakers in 2018-2019) and 6’8” forward Darius Miller (8.2 ppg, team-best 133 made threes in 2018-2019).

This is the makings of a solid young team.

Story by Chris Graham

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