Jordan Hawkins was taken with the No. 14 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night in 2023 NBA Draft, becoming the first UConn player off the board on the night and the first first-round draft pick since James Bouknight went No. 11 in 2021.
Like Bouknight, Hawkins’ lottery pick selection means he will join other UConn greats on the wall of the Werth Family Champions Center practice facility in Storrs.
Hawkins was an integral part of leading Dan Hurley and the Huskies to the program’s fifth national championship, as the sophomore established himself as one of the top perimeter scorers in the country. The Gaithersburg, Maryland native shot 38.8 percent from beyond the arc on over 280 attempts and averaged 16.2 points per game on the way to earning First Team All-Big East, West Regional Most Outstanding Player and Final Four All-Tournament honors this past season.
As the season progressed, Hawkins evolved from purely a 3-point shooter to a more effective slasher, using pump fakes and the threat of his lightning-quick release to get into the lane for easy baskets. As one of, if not the best, shooters in the draft class, Hawkins should be able to carve out a role right away on an NBA roster as the league is more dependent on the deep ball than ever. In order to become a star, Hawkins will need to improve his defense and ball handling, but joins the Pelicans roster as an elite perimeter threat.
The Pelicans also drafted Hilton Armstrong No. 12 overall in 2006. They were 42-40 last year and lost in the play-in tournament. Hawkins will join a core that includes Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson.