Pelicans lineup: 3 players who could break into 2021-22 starting five

Trey Murphy III #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Kira Lewis Jr. of the New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans traded away three of their five starters from last season, so we are going to be seeing some new faces in the starting lineup.

Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams are all gone with Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte’ Graham as the likely replacements so far.

If I had to guess at the Pelicans’ starting lineup right now it would probably look like this:

  • PG: Devonte’ Graham
  • SG: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  • SF: Brandon Ingram
  • PF: Zion Williamson
  • C: Jonas Valanciunas

These are probably their best five players, so it makes the most sense, though there could still be additions to the roster that might change that.

This starting five is certainly not etched in stone and new head coach Willie Green is going to have a lot of options as the season progresses.

Here are three guys who we might see break into the starting five this season.

New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr. looks ready for an expanded role

I’ve written about some of the options the Pelicans have at starting point guard and Kira Lewis Jr. is certainly one of them.

I like his on-the-ball defense and ability to push the pace, but there are questions about how he fits off the ball with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram doing a lot of the ball handling.

Kira Lewis Jr. might be better suited running a bench unit where he can handle the ball a bit more and do what he’s good at, which is breaking defenders down off the dribble and in the pick-and-roll and using his speed to push in transition.

The X-factor would be his 3-point shooting. If he can improve from long range, a pick-and-roll with Kira Lewis Jr. and Zion could be very effective and Kira could eventually earn that starting role, but I don’t think he’s there just yet.