Pelicans: 6 Targets With the 6th Pick in the 2016 NBA Draft

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Target #4: Dragan Bender

There is a 0% chance Bender ever plays an actual NBA game for the Pelicans, but his trade value makes him the clear 4th option after Simmons, Ingram, and Buddy.

There are a few reasons why Bender has no chance of being anything but a trade asset for the Pelicans, but his age is the most glaring.

At just 18 years old, Bender is probably 8-10 years from reaching his peak whereas someone like Buddy is just 3-4 years away from his. Bender also plays the same position as Anthony Davis, and is too skinny to try and shift to center.

Regardless, the Pelicans would have a very difficult time passing on him based on his trade value alone.

If Bender is available at six, Demps could easily trade him to almost any young team in the league. Bender is already being hailed as the next Kristaps Porzingus by the media and is the perfect long-term project for a team that wants to invest in a possible future All-Star.

He’s 7’1″, fluid and athletic, plays solid defense, and can shoot consistently from deep while retaining the ability to put the ball on the floor. He’s 30 lbs and three years of experience away from hitting his stride, but the investment will be worth it for someone with time on their hands.

A team like the Magic might be willing to trade away Oladipo and 11th pick, while a team like the Nuggets might be so desperate for him they give us the 7th and 15h pick in return. It’s difficult to gage his demand right now, but will certainly spark significant interest.

Regardless of how badly Bender would fit on the Pelicans, the return he would provide on the market clearly out-weighs the cost of selecting him.

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