12. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers) take Kyle Filipowski
The Duke big man likely would have been a first-round pick in the 2023 draft, but he decided to return to the Blue Devils for his sophomore season. Filipowski was ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP in 2023 but has taken his game to another level in year two. His mobility, intensity, defense, and rim protection have improved and could make him a top-ten pick in June.
Through 15 games, Filipowski is averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.9 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game. He is shooting 53.0 percent from the field and 70.6 percent on his free throws. The seven-footer has a developing jump shot and has made 17 of his 46 3-point attempts this season.
Filipowski has a high basketball IQ and a versatile game for a big man. He can act as an offensive hub, roll man, or spot-up shooter. There are questions about his jumper and ability to defend on the perimeter, but the 20-year-old should stick in the NBA.
The center spot is deep, but the Pelicans are searching for an upgrade. They have taken several shots on big men in the draft in recent years and would love to see Kyle Filipowski fall to them.