Pelicans Expected To Defer Lakers Pick To 2025

The New Orleans Pelicans are expected to defer their first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers for this year to the 2025 NBA Draft, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers, Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA News

The Pelicans have the option to take either the Lakers’ 2024 or 2025 pick as part of the Anthony Davis trade. So this may be New Orleans’ way of banking on Los Angeles to finish with a worse record next season, and therefore, lead to a better pick in ’25.

“People around the league expect that the Pelicans will give the Lakers their pick this year and take the 2025 pick.” O’Connor wrote. “If that’s the case, it’s hard to fathom that Los Angeles would use the pick on (Bronny James). Rob Pelinka is far more likely to use it to chase Trae Young or another star in a trade.”

Speaking of Bronny, NBA talent evaluators have said he has a ways to go before he’s ready for the big leagues.

“Bronny is nowhere near ready,” the GM told The Ringer. “He should go back to school to develop at his own pace or he risks getting lost in the shuffle, whether or not he’s playing with his dad.”

Bronny averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.2 blocks for USC this season while shooting 36.6% from the field, 26.7% from beyond the arc and 67.6% from the free-throw line. 

“Bronny is an undersized non-shooting guard,” an NBA scout told The Ringer. “The shot looks good but doesn’t go in. Those guys scare me the most. It’s either lack of touch or mental, and either way those take years to correct.”

Bronny’s dad, LeBron James, can become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his 2024-25 player option with the Los Angeles Lakers. A team could draft Bronny just to get LeBron’s attention. 

“There are probably three rounds’ worth of prospects more talented than Bronny in this class,” one GM told The Ringer. “So picking Bronny is more about getting LeBron’s attention right now than it is about developing Bronny himself.”

LeBron is 39. He’s the oldest player in the NBA. It’s unknown how many more years he will play in the NBA, but the four-time champion has said many times that he wants to play at least one season with Bronny. 

“Comparisons that came up in these conversations include Patrick BeverleyDavion Mitchell, and Norris Cole,” O’Connor wrote. “Beverley has had the longest career of the three because he’s the best shooter (37 percent from 3 in his career). Mitchell has yet to figure out his shot with the Kings, while Cole won two titles with LeBron in Miami before flaming out, in part because his shot never developed. But all three of them were respectable defenders. Bronny will have to follow in their footsteps to catch on with a winning team.”

Ashish Mathur contributed to this report.

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