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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry hints at starting lineup with Zion Williamson out for opener vs. Raptors

Alvin Gentry, Zion Williamson, Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans took a blow with the news that first overall pick Zion Williamson, the stud power forward out of Duke, is expected to miss several weeks due to a right knee ailment. Nevertheless, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has to plan for the immediate future, including the team’s nationally televised primetime matchup with Nick Nurse’s reigning champion Toronto Raptors for the first game of the regular season.

According to Gentry, veteran shooting guard JJ Redick will likely be inserted into the starting lineup, like in the preseason finale against the New York Knicks on Friday:

The Pelicans’ starting lineup against the Knicks included former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball and forward Brandon Ingram, center Jahlil Okafor, and veteran guard Jrue Holiday alongside Redick.

While Okafor started against the Knicks, Derrick Favors should be good to go for the Raptors game and will start at center:

The Pelicans signed Redick in the offseason after two seasons spent mentoring Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with the Philadelphia 76ers. New Orleans also added Favors this offseason after spending nearly his entire career with the Utah Jazz.

Ingram, meanwhile, at 6-foot-9, can play both forward spots. Holiday is a versatile defensive guard with the ability to play off the ball if need be, explaining the smaller lineup with Williamson off the floor.

The Pelicans defeated the Knicks on Friday in a nail-biter, winning by one point at Madison Square Garden. The games are official starting on Tuesday, however, but Williamson is inactive for the time being.

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