15. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers) take Kyle Filipowski
The Blue Devils big man was a projected first round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft before choosing to return to Duke for his sophomore campaign. Filipowski has been better in year two in nearly every facet of the game. The reigning ACC Tournament MVP is averaging 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.7 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game.
He had hip surgery in the offseason, which has helped his mobility on the defensive end of the floor. There are still questions about his rim protection and overall defense. Filipowski cannot guard on the perimeter, which will limit his role at the next level. He must be a deterrent at the rim to be more than an offense-only option.
It is difficult to find a big man with his offensive skills. The 20-year-old is a strong passer, rebounder, and finisher. He excels as a roll man and continues to improve.
The Pelicans are looking for another center. Jonas Valanciunas is on an expiring contract, and New Orleans needs a skilled backup, even if JV returns. Kyle Filipowski could be the answer, and his game gets more dynamic if he can consistently knock down threes.