METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans traded up to the top of the second round in an attempt to bring in potential back-court help for a lineup featuring the All-Star tandem of power forward Anthony Davis and center DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans acquired Frank Jackson from the Charlotte Hornets, who had taken the former Duke combo guard 31st overall on Thursday night.
"We thought if we waited until the 40th pick he might not be there," Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said.
In exchange for Jackson, New Orleans sent Charlotte cash and 40th overall draft choice Dwayne Bacon, a small forward out of Florida State.
The 6-foot-4 Jackson, who turned 19 last month, averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists and shot 39.5 percent on 3-pointers as a part-time starter as a freshman at Duke last season. He scored 10 or more in a game 20 times.
"Frank is a complete player," Demps said. "He can play both guard spots. He can shoot and he can put the ball on the floor and create. We like his competitive spirit. He's a confident kid. He wants the moment."
Jackson, who couldn't work out for teams because of a surgery to fix a stress reaction in his foot in late May, said he didn't know he was going to New Orleans until "just minutes before the Hornets picked."
"I'm so grateful," Jackson said, "but (the Pelicans) weren't in my mind, to be honest."
Now his mind is occupied by the prospect of playing with Davis and Cousins.
"Those are two of the best bigs in the league. It's going to teach me a lot," Jackson said. "It's going to allow me to play with those guys and just learn."
Jackson joins a team facing some uncertainty in the back court. Starting point guard Jrue Holiday is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and New Orleans traded his backup, Tim Frazier, to Washington on Wednesday for the 52nd pick in the draft. However, New Orleans traded that pick to Indiana for cash and the Pacers got Xavier guard Edmond Sumner.
Demps said trading Frazier "was a tough one," but added that it happened partly because "our style of play changed a little bit" to a slower tempo after the acquisition of Cousins.
Jackson will be unable to play in the Summer League because of the foot surgery, but Demps said he expects him to be ready for the start of training camp.
Demps called Jackson a player with "huge upside," and Jackson asserted that he was "just as good as anyone in this draft class."
"I feel that way 100 percent," Jackson said. "I just can't wait to go out and prove it."
The Pelicans' other guards are Quinn Cook, Jordan Crawford, E'Twaun Moore, Quincy Pondexter and Axel Toupane.
Moore played in 73 games last season and averaged 9.6 points. None of the other guards on the roster played in as many as 20 games last season.
Demps said New Orleans hopes to re-sign Holiday, who's expected to attract significant interest on the open market.
New Orleans traded its first-round pick — 10th overall — to Sacramento in February as part of a trade to acquire Cousins.
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Posted on Fri, June 23, 2017
by By LES EAST, Associated Press