The New Orleans Pelicans will have a lot of new names on the roster this season, which should lead to some interesting lineup combinations for coach Willie Green.
Green is going to be different than Stan Van Gundy in a lot of ways, but one of them is that he will be more flexible than SVG, who stuck with the same lineups and rotations for most of the season until some trades forced his hand.
The Pelicans jettisoned three of their starters to other teams so we will definitely see some new faces in the starting lineup and very different group closing games.
Regardless of who starts, there are some groups that I would love to see get run together at some point in the season, as they offer the Pelicans specific advantages.
The Pelicans can go with an all forward lineup
One of the biggest differences between the new-look Pels and last season is that the Pelicans now have a lot of position-less players who can slot into multiple spots.
I’ve always thought that the best way to use Zion Williamson is just to surround him with long, versatile defenders who can shoot, and the Pelicans finally have a few guys who fit that description.
Here is a group I think we’ll see. I am not going to list positions because it doesn’t really matter.
- Josh Hart
- Brandon Ingram
- Trey Murphy III
- Naji Marshall
- Zion Williamson
As you can see, this group doesn’t really have a point guard or a center, but when you have Zion, you don’t necessarily need players who fit those traditional roles.
This group is long, athletic and should have plenty of defensive versatility. It has enough shooting, as Hart, Ingram Murphy III and Marshall can all hit 3-point shots, and they would be able to get out and run.
I love the idea of Hart, Murphy III and Marshall hounding the perimeter, getting blocks and steals and then getting out in transition. This would be considered a “small ball” lineup, which is one way to use Zion Williamson, but the Pels could also go big.