Pelicans lineups: Predicting starters and rotation with Zion Williamson out

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans will start their regular season on Wednesday without the services of Zion Williamson.

The Pelicans will be tested early in what will be a crucial season for the franchise, as they are trying to take the next step in their development and keep their superstar happy in New Orleans.

We can debate whether the Pelicans improved overall this offseason, but one thing is not debatable: The Pels will miss Zion Williamson terribly.

Related Story. Trying to find positives in Zion Williamson being out. light

They are going to need everyone to step up in his absence, but the Pels’ starting lineup wasn’t even set with Zion, so what is it going to look like without him? How about the rotations?

Willie Green has a lot of options, as the Pels are deeper and more versatile than they were last season, when their bench was full of guys who could only do one thing well, and in most cases, not even that.

So who will start with Zion Williamson out? And what will the rotation look like? I’ll take a stab at what we might see on opening night vs. the 76ers.

New Orleans Pelicans: Starting lineup and rotation with Zion Williamson out

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

The biggest question mark is probably at shooting guard, even though NAW is clearly their best player there. If Willie Green wants to keep his bench unit together, he could throw veteran Garrett Temple into the starting five as he did in the preseason.

Trey Murphy III was the Pelicans most consistent player in Summer League and preseason and should have earned himself a spot in the starting five.

I am hoping the Pelicans will use this chance to unleash their version of a small-ball “Death Lineup” with Herb Jones and Trey Murphy III playing at the four and five.

They could also go the other way and go “jumbo” with Hayes at the power forward with Valanciunas at center, which is something I am looking forward to seeing.

Obviously no team wants to start the season without their best player, but this will give coach Green the opportunity to tinker around with lineups and try to find combinations of guys that work.

Hopefully by the time Zion Williamson returns, the Pels’ young players will have built some confidence and will be ready to go on a run.

Next. 1 optimistic prediction for every Pelican. dark