BROOKLYN (KATC) – With the first overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson, the 18-year-old from Duke who will have the weight of the franchise on his shoulders.
Zion once turned down a football scholarship from LSU because he just ‘wants to ball.’ He was emotional when speaking with ESPN’s Maria Taylor about his journey to the NBA.
— NBA (@NBA) June 21, 2019
Zion is the first of three first round picks for New Orleans who added to their stock by moving the 4th overall pick.
New Orleans shipped the 4th overall pick and Solomon Hill to Atlanta for the 8th overall pick. New Orleans selected Jaxson Hayes with that pick. Hayes is a 6-foot-11-inch center from Texas. Draft experts consider him a raw prospect with who compares to the Houston Rocket’s Clint Capella as both a shot blocker and rim runner.
In the deal with Atlanta, the Pelicans also acquired the 17th overall pick and a future first from Cleveland. The two sides also flipped second round picks with the Pelicans now with five overall picks Thursday night.
With that 17th pick, New Orleans took Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The two-way guard is just the second, first-round pick from Tech, joining Dell Curry. Alexander-Walker told New Orleans media in New York that he’s excited to be a part of a new wave in New Orleans.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “A chance in a new wave. To start something. To be special and impact the game. Playing with guys like Zion is a chance of a lifetime. His talent and caliber. Jaxson Hayes is raw potential. What he can bring to the table. It’s going to be fun.”
The Pelicans had two second-round draft picks at the start of the NBA Draft. With the 35th overall selection New Orleans chose Brazilian Marcos Louzada Silva or DiDi. The 6-foot-6-inch wing shot better than 42-percent from three as a 19-year-old on his Brazilian pro league team.
The Pelicans would trade their second pick in the second round (no. 39) to Golden State for two future second round picks and cash considerations.