The Pelicans started the night with the 6th pick in the NBA Draft: Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel. But Nerlens wasn’t in Nawlins for long.
“The New Orleans Pelicans, yes the New Orleans Pelicans select Nerlens Noel from the University of Kentucky,” announced NBA commissioner David Stern.
That selection caught Anthony Davis and his mom by complete surprise. Davis’ reaction was classic, but before you could say twin towers, Noel was sent in a proposed trade to Philadelphia, along with a 2014 first round pick.
The Pelicans get All Star guard Jrue Holiday, who just turned 23 and is under contract for 4 more seasons, and Philadelphia’s second round pick in Thursday night’s draft.
The trade has to be approved by the NBA and when it is, Pelicans forward Jason Smith said New Orleans is getting quite a player: “Got to play with him one year in Philadelphia. Fantastic player. All Star last year, great work ethic. Very underrated, but I think he got his recognition being an All Star.”
Holiday is dependable. He played 78 games last season and 37.5 minutes per game. He averaged 17.7 points, 8 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He was selected as a reserve to the Eastern Conference All Stars.
“Defensively, he’s underrated,” says Smith. “He’s underrated offensively. He’s very quick with his feet, very quick hands. He’s very crafty out there.”
Holiday gives the Pelicans a very good young nucleus along with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson.
If the pelicans are in next year’s lottery with picks 1 through 5, that pick is protected, meaning New Orleans would keep it.
As part of the agreement with the 76ers, they used pick number 42 in the second round of the draft to choose guard Pierre Jackson of Baylor for the Pelicans.
Here is Nerlens Noel before the draft began: