Should the Pelicans make this controversial change to their starting lineup?

CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jose Alvarado #15 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jose Alvarado #15 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have had a good start to the season considering their injury issues and road-heavy schedule.

They have no reason to do anything dramatic after starting 7-6, as they are in the middle of a six-game home stand and could go on a real run to climb the Western Conference standings.

It’s still very early, but there have been some concerning trends so far in the season, especially when it comes to rim protection.

But the much stranger development has been the slow start for CJ McCollum, who is shooting just 39 percent from the field, the worst of his career. That hasn’t stopped him from shooting, as McCollum is leading the Pelicans in shot attempts, taking nearly three more shots per game than Zion Williamson.

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McCollum does plenty to help this team, and I have zero doubts that he will pull out of this shooting slump, but there is an argument that he and the team might be best served if he came off the bench for now.

New Orleans Pelicans starting lineup: Moving CJ McCollum to the bench

As I said, McCollum has been one of the most reliable shooters in the NBA over his career, so this slump won’t last forever and I am sure he’ll go on a scoring spree soon.

But he’s been pretty bad recently, scoring in single digits in three of the last four games while still taking nearly 15 attempts. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram should lead this team in shot attempts, so we’ve been getting a little too much of CJ McCollum, especially during this slump.

Moving him to the bench would allow the Pelicans to put Jose Alvarado into the starting five, as he is more of a traditional point guard who will make plays without taking a ton of shots. They could also use Trey Murphy III as an off-ball shooting option alongside Zion and BI, as TMIII hitting nearly 40 percent of his 3-point shots, but is taking fewer of them than CJ, who is currently hitting 27 percent from long range.

This move would also allow CJ to be the general and primary scoring option of the bench at times, allowing him to get his shots without having to worry about getting Zion and BI involved all of the time.

McCollum will still be on the floor to finish games, so this move would really just be a way to get Zion and BI going early (instead of waiting until the 4th quarter) and for CJ to get some time as the primary scoring option on the floor.

This would also balance the scoring between the bench and the starting five, as the Pelicans currently have the lowest-scoring bench in the NBA and could use more equal distribution of points.

I don’t think coach Willie Green would make such a drastic move this early in the season, especially since McCollum is a team leader, but there are some arguments in favor of moving McCollum to the bench to help him get going and to better balance the scoring between units.

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