NBA Draft Preview & Value Bets

New Orleans is riding high. After landing the No. 1 pick and the next superstar in Zion Williamson, the Pelicans made the first big splash of the offseason over the weekend, trading away Anthony Davis in a blockbuster deal that netted a bounty of players and picks in return — including the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The top of the Draft should be rather uneventful. Williamson’s Duke teammate RJ Barrett is seemingly locked in to the No. 3 spot and the Knicks, while Murray State guard Ja Morant is set to split them and go to Memphis at two. The No. 4 pick — and what the Pelicans decide to do with that second selection — is where things could get interesting.

Don’t buy the hype
North Carolina’s Nassir Little is arguably the most polarizing potential lottery pick. Some mock drafts have him projected as a Top 10 pick while others have him dropping out of the lottery, with Miami at No. 13 the general consensus. Little’s production at UNC was low and he is no darling of the analytics crew, which is to say it wouldn’t be a surprise if he slipped a bit. If Miami passes on him at 13, he could fall to near the 20 range.

Lottery surprise
Tyler Herro is getting plenty of buzz after some phenomenal workouts that have significantly bumped up his Draft stock. The Kentucky shooting guard is rated in the 18-20 range heading in, but there are many signs pointing to him sliding into the lottery — with a handful of projections having him go to the Celtics at 14.

Trade winds blowing
There are plenty of trade rumors, first and foremost surrounding the No. 4 pick acquired by New Orleans. The Pelicans appear inclined to deal the pick to add talent around Zion, particularly a playmaking point guard. The Rockets currently have no picks but figure to at least try to get into the second round. The Draft could mark the start of an active offseason for GM Daryl Morey, who has essentially put the entire roster sans James Harden on the block. Another team to watch is the Hawks, who were already rebuffed by the Knicks after attempting to trade the eighth and 10th picks in return for No. 3. Atlanta is rumored to be turning its attention to the Pelicans’ pick.

VALUE BETS

Tyler Herro Draft Position Under 18.5 (-250) — Herro has been getting a ton of hype and it is hard to see him falling past the Celtics at 14.

Sekou Doumbouya Draft Position Under 9.5 (-135) — Doumbouya has great length and boasts experience playing pro ball in France, the combination of which has him rated as a high-upside NBA talent.

Coby White Drafted Before Cam Reddish (-285) — These two prospects are heading in different directions. White looks sure to go no worse than No. 7, while Reddish could fall to the Hawks or Wizards in the 8-10 range.

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