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
Steven Adams #12, Brandon Ingram #14, Zion Williamson #1, Josh Hart #3 and Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans: Closing lineup

People get fixated on the starting lineups but the closing lineups are far more important, as this is the group you’ll have out there when the game is on the line.

These are often situational and not necessarily your best guys, especially if some of your players best players can’t shoot free throws, as has been the case with the Pelicans over the last two seasons.

I think you’ll see this group most often:

  • PG: Devonte’ Graham
  • SG: Josh Hart
  • SF: Brandon Ingram
  • PF: Zion Williamson
  • C: Jonas Valanciunas

Devonte’ Graham is good in the clutch, so he is an obvious choice here. I’m sure NAW will see some clutch-time action but he is a poor free throw shooter at just 70 percent for his career and Hart is a better defender.

Zion and B.I. are a given and Valunciunas provides rim protection and is a career 78 percent free-throw shooter, so he won’t kill the Pels if he gets fouled.

Often these decisions are based on who is playing well that particular night, so I am sure different players will get the chance to close games throughout the season.

This Pelicans’ roster is shaping up to be a lot more fun than last season and I look forward to seeing how it all comes together.

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