New Orleans Pelicans’ starting lineup shows unique philosophy

CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Brandon Ingram (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Brandon Ingram (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans will run out one of the most talented starting lineups in the entire NBA next season.

With three elite scorers in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum to go along with defensive standout Herbert Jones and a top center in Jonas Valanciunas, there are not many teams that can match the potential of the Pels’ starting five.

We’ve seen teams go progressively more position-less over the last few years, with many teams opting for lineups full of versatile wing players who can defend multiple spots and shoot the three-point shot.

The Pels’ projected starting five is one of them, as you only have one guy (Valanciunas) who has a definite position, and even he will be evolving now that Zion Williamson is back.

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While there are a lot of teams going more position-less, the New Orleans Pelicans’ starting backcourt situation is unique in the NBA.

The New Orleans Pelicans starting lineup

Here is the projected starting five for the New Orleans Pelicans next season:

  • CJ McCollum
  • Brandon Ingram
  • Herb Jones
  • Zion Williamson
  • Jonas Valanciunas

The first thing that stands out is that this lineup is big and versatile, but next thing is that it doesn’t feature traditional guards at either spot.

CJ McCollum has played lead guard in the past, and did so again last season for the Pelicans, but he is really more of a shooting guard than a guy who plays the traditional role of facilitator. He will play as much off the ball as on for the Pelicans and won’t always be the one initiating the offense.

Brandon Ingram isn’t really a guard at all, which gives the Pelicans two guys in the backcourt who don’t fit the traditional mold of their assigned position.

The Lakers are probably the closest depending on how they use LeBron James, as Russell Westbrook has been more of a scoring guard than a traditional point guard himself.

But when you look around the rest of the league, most of the teams are running out at least one guy in the backcourt who more or less fits what we imagine when we think of a point guard or a shooting guard.

The Pels are trying something new, which is deploying a starting five where just about everyone can handle the ball and create, from lead guard McCollum to “power forward” Zion Williamson, who is also going to play plenty at the point.

This is going to make New Orleans very difficult to stop, as not many teams have the personnel to match up with such a versatile offensive lineup.

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