Pelicans pick up options on recent first rounders, add Petty

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket against Golden State Warriors centre Kevon Looney in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, May 3, 2021.The Warriors won 123-108. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans exercised options on four former first-round draft choices, including star forward Zion Williamson, and added undrafted rookie guard John Petty Jr. to their roster.

The Pelicans picked up fourth-year options on 2019 first-round draft choices Williamson, center Jaxson Hayes and guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, keeping them under contract through next season. New Orleans also exercised a third-year option on 2020 top draft choice Kira Lewis Jr., keeping him under contract through the 2022-23 season as well.

The signing of Petty gives the Pelicans a third Crimson Tide player since they drafted Lewis 13th overall out of Alabama last year.

New Orleans also selected former Crimson Tide forward Herbert Jones early in the second round of the 2021 draft.

The 6-5, 184-pound Petty averaged 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and two assists in four seasons at Alabama and hit a school-record 311 career 3-pointers.

Petty was named first-team All-SEC last season after averaging 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists with 77 made 3s.

New Orleans was expected to pick up options on recent first-round selections after they each showed promise in the early stages of their career — none more so than Williamson, a 2021 All-Star who has averaged 25.7 points and seven rebounds per game in his first two seasons.

Alexander-Walker has played in 93 games with 14 starts, averaging 8.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.

Hayes has played in 124 games with 17 starts, averaging 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Lewis got into 54 games off the bench as a rookie last season, averaging 6.4 points and 2.3 assists.

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