WESTWEGO (AP) — New Orleans got a closer look at two of the NBA draft's top point guard prospects Friday.
The Pelicans, who have the sixth selection in the June 27 draft, worked out Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams. Maryland center Alex Len, who is coming off surgery last month for a stress fracture to his left ankle, was also in town but did not work out.
Burke, the AP player of the year in 2013, averaged 18.5 points and 6.7 assists per game in leading the Wolverines to the national championship game, where they lost to Louisville.
"With the young team that the Pelicans have, I feel I can make an impact right away and help this team win," said Burke, whose size and style have drawn comparisons to another point guard drafted by New Orleans, Chris Paul.
"I'm obviously not at (Paul's) level yet," Burke said. "That's been a guy I've looked up to. I definitely think it's a great comparison. I've got a lot of work to do to get to his level."
Pelicans head coach Monty Williams noticed some changes in Burke since the April 8 title game.
"He's put on some muscle," Williams said. "He looks a little bit different than he did in the championship game.
"I've watched him on film. He's been able to be pretty productive. He was the player of the year in college, so he's doing something right."
Carter-Williams, at 6-foot-6, stands six inches taller than Burke. He averaged 11.8 points, 7.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game last season for the Orange, whose season ended in the Final Four with a loss to Burke's Michigan team.
"I think they've got a great young team," Carter-Williams said of the Pelicans. "They have three guards already here, but I can come in and help them win and excel as a team."
Both Burke and Carter-Williams have worked out for the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings, the teams who pick immediately before and after New Orleans in the first round.
Williams knows that either guard will, at the outset of his career, face a night-in, night-out challenge in the NBA's Western Conference.
"When you're talking about Trey and Michael," Williams said, "they're going to have to go against Russell (Westbrook), Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Tony Parker. That's a lot. The learning curve is steep, no matter who you are."
Len, a 7-1 native of Ukraine, averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game for Maryland. Despite having surgery four weeks ago, he expects to be fully healthy for the start of training camp in October.
He smiled at the thought of being teamed with 2012 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis.
"It would be cool," Len said. "Two big towers."
Said Williams of Len, "I like him. Anybody who's able to do what he's done this far away from home says a lot about his toughness and character. There's only so much you can do in an interview. I like him on film, though."
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said the visit and interview process has evolved in recent years.
"The guys are younger now," he said. "They ask you a lot of questions. It's refreshing."
Demps said New Orleans is looking for the best fit at No. 6, whether or not that choice would be a major contribution this season.
"A lot of it depends on position, the dynamics of the team," Demps said. "Specifically for us, we're looking for a guy who can come in and contribute and help. That help may be this year, it may be two years from now, could be three years from now. We're not going to limit it to 'we need help right now.'"