Today, the New Orleans Pelicans host the New York Knicks in what will be their very first home game of the 2023-24 NBA season. The Pelicans beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-104 in their season opener on Wednesday. Now, they look to keep up the momentum and improve to 2-0. But who will they have available to them in their quest to do so?
First off, all five of the guys who started Wednesday’s game will also be available and in the starting lineup tonight against New York. That means Jonas Valanciunas, Herbert Jones, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and, you guessed it, Zion Williamson, will all be good to go.
Four of the five starters played 31 or more minutes against Memphis. The only one who didn’t was Valanciunas, but that is pretty normal for him (he averaged 24.9 MPG). So, it doesn’t seem like any of them are dealing with any sort of minutes restriction.
Larry Nance Jr., who didn’t play all preseason (ankle), played about 15 minutes. That is down from his season average from last year (21.2 MPG). The Pelicans could be easing Nance back into the mix slowly until he is back to 100 percent. We’ll see if he ends up playing more minutes against the Knicks.
Cody Zeller also didn’t appear in any preseason games as he was dealing with a back injury. He was not listed on the injury report, but he did receive a DNP. However, that appeared to be the result of a coach’s decision rather than a health problem.
The Pelicans will continue to be without Jose Alvarado (ankle), Naji Marshall (knee), and Trey Murphy III (meniscus). Murphy is still about a month from coming back. Alvarado will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. And Marshall should be getting re-evaluated any day now.
As it stands, the Knicks have no one listed on their injury report (per ESPN). Unlike the Grizzlies, who were missing multiple key contributors, the Knicks are pretty healthy heading into this clash. And considering they pushed the heavyweight Boston Celtics to the brink in their home opener (lost by just four), they should be a real handful for New Orleans.