New Orleans Pelicans: Predicting starting lineup, sixth man and closers

Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Devonte' Graham
Devonte’ Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

After re-signing Josh Hart, the New Orleans Pelicans roster is pretty much set barring another trade or free-agent addition.

The Pelicans are already over the limit for players, which means Wenyen Gabriel’s time with the team may be over. The Pels still have a couple of small roster moves to make but what we see now could very well be the team on opening night.

New Orleans has a lot of new faces after trading three of their starters, so Willie Green is going to have a much younger and hopefully faster team that is more suited to play around Zion Williamson.

Related Story. How Trey Murphy III fits with Brandon Ingram. light

I think we’ll see a lot of lineup combinations this season, far more than last when Stan Van Gundy went with the same starting five for most of the year.

There are some interesting bench possibilities and I expect the Pels’ bench to be a lot better and a lot more dynamic than they were last season.

Here are some predictions for the starting lineup, backups, sixth man off the bench and most importantly, who will close out games.

New Orleans Pelicans: Starting lineup prediction

If I had to guess, I’d say this will be the first starting lineup we see when the games are real and the guys who will back them up:

  • PG: Devonte’ Graham/Kira Lewis Jr.
  • SG: Nickeil Alexander-Walker/Trey Murphy III
  • SF: Brandon Ingram/Josh Hart
  • PF: Zion Williamson/Naji Marshall
  • C: Jonas Valanciunas/Jaxson Hayes

The starting five could go a lot of ways as the season progresses, but this group gives the Pelicans four guys who can shoot and create around Zion Williamson, which is a big change from last season with Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe in the starting five.

This bench unit is young, fast and should be able to defend, as Hart, Marshall and Murphy III are all long, versatile defenders who hustle and make plays. They should be able to create turnovers and then get out and run.

Jaxson Hayes’ future is still up in the air, but the Pelicans officially re-signed Willy Hernangomez, who played well last season as a backup.

I know some fans aren’t happy with the Pelicans’ offseason, but this team looks a lot more fun on paper and is the right age to grow and develop with Zion and Ingram.