The New Orleans Pelicans didn’t add any players to their regular-season roster during Thursday’s NBA draft, but the team did boost its roster for the summer league Friday.
The team selected Michigan State forward Branden Dawson with the No. 56 pick Thursday but immediately sold his rights to the Los Angeles Clippers for $600,000.
Sources close to the Pelicans told The Advocate that the team considered trading up in the draft, but nothing developed. Once all of the players the team wanted were no longer available, they decided there was more value in trading the pick.
So that means any major changes to the roster will be made during free agency, which opens July 1. But before then, the team added former Tulane sharpshooter Jay Hook and Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones to its roster for the summer season.
Hook, a 6-foot-4 guard, told The Advocate he will attend the Las Vegas summer league with the team. That squad’s first game is July 10 against Milwaukee.
“The opportunity to play pro ball is nothing short of a blessing,” he said. “I dreamt about doing a lot of this stuff, a lot of the process, and just experiencing that is enough.”
Hook played for four years under Ed Conroy at Tulane, becoming the team’s most reliable perimeter shooter. He owns the Green Wave’s record for 3-pointers made in a season, converting 88 as a junior en route to being third-most prolific 3-point shooter in school history.
Considering the Pelicans sold their only draft pick, the opportunities for an unheralded prospect to shine in Las Vegas are considerable. Hook is hoping that’s the case.
“Not only that, but my ability to do a lot of things on the court,” he said. “(I hope to) catch some eyes and prove myself, something that I’ve been doing since I can remember.”
Hook has taken advantage of opportunities in the past. As a junior, he shot up the depth chart when Tulane was decimated by transfers, making the rarely used shooting guard one of the team’s key cogs and earning Conroy’s trust.
“The biggest thing for me is do what I do best: score,” Hook said. “And prove that I can defend as well. I believe myself to be an underrated defender, and that also will be on display.”
Dejean-Jones, a 6-6 guard, averaged 10.5 points at Iowa State, the third stop of his college career. He also played at Southern California and UNLV but ended up leaving both programs after off-the-court issues.
Hook and Dejean-Jones hope to impress enough to make their way onto the Pelicans roster, which hasn’t changed since the season ended.