Pelicans 1st Round Draft Pick: Jordan Hawkins

07:00 August 15, 2023
By: Kaitlin Lowe

After the Pelicans's rocky season with injured Zion and a close loss in an opportunity for the playoffs versus the Oklahoma City Thunder—many fans are unsure of what to expect for the upcoming season.

With Zion hopefully off the bench and sharp shooter Jordan Hawkins in the cards, could the Pel's bounce back?

It's important to take a look at the Pelican's first round pick Hawkins and what he brings to the table.

"Who's The New Guy?"

Jordan Hawkins, Maryland born and raised, has been nothing short of impressive throughout his collegiate career. Standing at 6 '5, he already has a championship under his belt by the age of 21.

Hawkins made an impact from the very beginning of his career as he was chosen as the Maryland Gatorade player of the year and became a 4 star recruit, headed to University of Connecticut.

Hawkins played in 27 games his freshmen year, and was honored as part of the Big East All Freshman Team.

[Pelicans', Facebook]

Hawkins entered his sophomore year as UConn's starting shooting guard. While Hawkins had to spend some time on the bench due to a concussion, he scored 20 points in his comeback game against UNC Wilmington. Hawkins led the scoring record for UConn in a single game in the 2022-23 season with 31 points against St. John. Hawkins was named first team All-Big East post regular season, averaging 16.2 points.

The Huskies had a wildly successful season—making it to the final four for the first time in school history since 2014, and ultimately beating out Miami and San Diego for the NCAA championship title. Hawkins scored 16 points in the championship game whilst beating out San Diego 76-59. Hawkins was further named the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional of the NCAA tournament as he averaged 22 points during the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games.

Basketball seems to run in his family—as Hawkin's cousin Angel Reese, LSU superstar, and he had become reigning March Madness champions within days of each other. Post championship, Hawkins quickly announced he'd enter the 2023 NBA draft.

Hawkins Joins the Pelicans

The Pelicans picked up Hawkins as the 14th first round draft for his shooting capabilities, with some calling him the best shooter in this year's draft altogether.

[Pelicans' Facebook]

At Hawkins' first two Summer games he put up 16 points, second only to Dyson Daniel's 18 in game 1. However he didn't play as well in his third and fourth game against the Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns, averaging 8 points with only 1 three pointer per game..

Notably, the undrafted Dearon Seabron had proven himself to have some game when taken off the bench with his 20 points against the Hornets as the game's scoring leader—after averaging .8 points per game last season.

Hawkins has made it clear in the media that he can and will improve his game, specifically defensively. It's also apparent that Hawkins can improve by working closer with the Pelicans in terms of play-making, as the rookie has appeared to be trigger happy at times—while struggling to shoot behind the line. After all, it is clear he's still adjusting to the NBA.

While it's hard to tell what impact Hawkins will realistically bring to the table for the Pelicans during the 2023-24 season, we remain optimistic as the rookie has the confidence and shooting skills the Pelicans need.

We have faith that Hawkins can hike up the scoring averages as he gains comfort on the court—and if he follows through on his play making and defense improvements, we can see him being a real asset to the Pelicans in the 2023-24 season on the court with guys like Ingram, Murphy, and *fingers crossed* Williamson. While we don't know what trades will be locked in by the start of the season, we look forwards to cheering on our team through the season, and hopefully a postseason appearance.

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