The New Orleans Pelicans finished eighth in the 2022 NBA Draft, a slot that has produced a lot of good role players, but not many stars.
Pelicans have plenty of options for the eighth pick, including using it to trade or come back, but if they end up picking in that spot, it’s statistically unlikely to find a star.
Looking at every draft since 1979 (which I use arbitrarily as the start of the “modern” era), there haven’t been any real stars captured by the eighth pick, which is bad news.
The good news is that there have been an astonishing number of very good NBA players, from the “strong role player, long career” category to a few who were multi-stars.
Of the 43 NBA drafts I looked at, 19 of them produced at least a player that I would classify as a “good role player for a good team,” which isn’t a bad percentage considering the draft is pretty much a sloppy one.
Here are the 19 players drafted to eighth overall who have made (or are making, or could make) an impact in the NBA.
New Orleans Pelican Project: Top players drafted eighth
Eighth place has produced a lot of quality NBA players, so the New Orleans Pelicans have a good chance of finding influential talent with the eighth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
- Calvin Nutt -1979 (one-time star who has had a very long and fruitful career)
- Andrew Tony 1980 (Twice All-Star for Philly Who Caught)
- Tom Chambers 1981 (four-time All-Star)
- Clark Kellogg-1982 (It was a great start to a career that was interrupted by injury)
- Antoine Carr 1983
- Detlef Schrempf-1985 (3 times All-Star and one of the best internationals of all time)
- Ron Harper -1986 (powerful role player, essential part of the Bulls dynasty)
- Olden Polynes -1987 (long career as a strong player)
- Rex Chapman 1988
- Finn Baker 1993 (four-time All-Star)
- Keri Kettles 1996
- Andre Miller 1999 (Great captain and key goalkeeper who played forever)
- Jamal Crawford 2000 (one of the 6 greatest men of all time)
- Channing Free 2005
- Rudy Gay 2006 (still playing somehow)
- Kentavius Caldwell Pop 2013
- Colin Sexton 2018 (averaging 24 points in his last full season)
- Jackson Hayes -2019 (pending)
- Franz Wagner 2021 (first junior team)
As you can see, the New Orleans Pelicans are unlikely to land the next face of the NBA with the eighth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but thankfully they don’t need to.
They have a solid working squad coming back, which hopefully includes a healthy Zion Williamson, so the Bills would be very happy to find a role player with a solid NBA career, which is totally possible.
I’m sure the Bills would love to find Detlev Schrempf, Ron Harper, Colin Sexton or a player of Franz Wagner’s level in this draft, a man who can complement their core and play an influential role on a good team.