The Pelicans drafted two accomplished players in the 2021 NBA Draft

Ashley Lideau

NEW ORLEANS, LA - The New Orleans Pelicans have spent this 2021 NBA offseason seeking a combination of good defense and offense in their roster. So, in the 2021 NBA Draft, New Orleans believes they got to a fast start by acquiring a pair of accomplished college players.

Their first pick came in a more extensive trade to be finalized later. The Memphis Grizzlies traded with the Pelicans for the tenth overall pick, Ziarie Williams. As a result, the Pelicans took the 17th overall pick, Trey Murphy III.

Murphy III, a Durham, N.C., native, played three college seasons, two for Rice Owls in Texas from 2018 to 2020 before transferring to Virginia Cavaliers in the 2020-21 season. A small forward who also can play as a shooting guard, Murphy III had a good shooting accuracy since he converted 40.6% from the field.

He was also a stellar defensive contributor in college. Murphy drew pre-draft comparisons from scouts to Toronto's OG Anunoby and Atlanta's De'Andre Hunter; both are young and proven wing defenders.

Then, in the second round, the Pelicans took Alabama Crimson Tide senior forward Herbert Jones as the 35th overall pick. Jones also brought good defense to New Orleans, as he was nominated as the SEC's Player of the Year, along with SEC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.

"We wanted high-character human beings. We talked about that for a long time. The one thing we wanted to do this summer was bring in defensive-slanted guys, high-basketball IQ guys and shooting. I think we did that with these two players. Both (are) high-character guys that can really bring a lot of versatility on the defensive end," said Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon about the team's objectives during the 2021 season.

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