The New Orleans Pelicans selected Jordan Hawkins, a 6’4 combo guard, with the 14th pick of the 2023 NBA draft, and he could make an immediate impact.
Hawkins, who averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his sophomore season at the University of Connecticut, is best regarded for his deep perimeter shooting. He made 2.9 threes on 7.6 attempts from 3-point range, good for a 38.8 shooting percentage.
The Pelicans attempted the second-fewest (30.1) and made the eighth-fewest (11.0) 3-pointers in the league during the 2022-23 regular season. Trey Murphy III, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum were largely considered the team’s only real threats following the trade of Devonte’ Graham to the San Antonio Spurs midseason.
Hawkins shined throughout the NCAA tournament, helping UConn to the 2023 National Championship. He earned first team honors by averaging 16.3 points on 50% 3-point shooting.
Many draft experts labeled Hawkins and Gradey Dick, the 13th pick selection by the Toronto Raptors, as the top two shooters in the field, including The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie.
Hawkins has a very real case as the best shooter in the 2023 NBA Draft. His jumper is entirely projectable to the next level, not only in terms of making spot-ups but also creating shots from 3 at volume with his off-ball movement. These players who can do this are worth their weight in gold. He’s going to make life for stars around him easier.
Vecenie also noted that Hawkins possesses defensive and shot creation upside. His real weakness is a wiry frame that needs to add good weight; however, he does have good quickness and possesses the athleticism of an NBA athlete.
“I think Jordan still has an unbelievable upside even beyond who he is right now. I think he is one of the best movement shooters,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley said. “This guy can do it at full speed at a level that you haven’t seen in college. He also has a lot of two-way potential because he is athletic and he is long.”
The Pelicans desperately needed to improve their outside shooting this offseason and it appears they’ve taken a good first step by selecting a known commodity in Jordan Hawkins.
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