While the No. 6 pick grabbed the headlines, the Pelicans made a leap up the draft order in the second round to snag Cheick Diallo.
New Orleans exchanged the No. 39 and No. 40 picks to the Los Angeles Clippers to get No. 33, so the Pelicans could grab the former Kansas standout.
The 6-foot-9 power forward was a former five-star recruit in the class of 2015, according to Rivals.com. However, he was used sparingly at Kansas, averaging two points and 3.5 rebounds.
Diallo met with the Pelicans during the NBA combine in Chicago and told reporters it was a “pretty good meeting”. Originally from the nation of Mali, Diallo is considered by NBA experts as a raw prospect who was sought-after for his upside and not what he accomplished in college.
The last second-round pick to make the Pelicans roster was Darius Miller, who was added at No. 46 in the 2012 draft.
Meet and greet
Media and fans will have an opportunity to hear from the Pelicans newest addition Friday.
The franchise is expected to host both of its draft selections at its Metairie practice facility for a news conference.
There hasn’t been an introductory news conference for a Pelicans draft selection since Anthony Davis went No. 1 and Austin Rivers went 10th in 2012.
The franchise made a selection in 2013 (Nerlens Noel, No. 6) and 2015 (Branden Dawson, No. 56), but both were traded away on draft night.
The 2014 pick was already traded before the draft.
Since 2008, the Pelicans have only had three first round picks actually make it to New Orleans.
First-round pick Buddy Hield’s shooting ability is well known, but Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said the guard gets even more attention off the court.
Kruger tabbed Hield “the happiest guy on the team, every single day” and said he is one of the most likeable players he has ever coached.
“He will walk in the room and make everyone in the room and make everyone else in the room feel very good,” Kruger said in an interview with the Pelicans’ radio network. “He’s just a culture changer. ... You’ll love him. He will quickly become every person in the building’s favorite guy.”
Honoring the blue
Dell Demps opened his comments by remembering slain Jefferson Parish deputy David Michel Jr.
The JPSO officer was killed in the line of duty Wednesday morning in Harvey during a pedestrian stop.
Demps came to the podium with a JPSO hat in hand, and before discussing the selection of Hield, the Pelicans’ general manager touched on the tragedy.
“I want to start off by honoring the memory of a fallen hero in our community,” Demps said. “David Michel was killed in the line of duty. It’s been heavy on our heart and the whole organization’s heart. Our flags were half-raised today, and our condolences go out to his family.
“It’s just a sad thing to happen. I just want to recognize that to start things off.”