The New Orleans Pelicans will test their mettle against the new-look Chicago Bulls in a 2021-22 NBA preseason matchup at the United Center on Friday. It will be a meeting of vastly overhauled rosters, although franchise player Zion Williamson will not take to the court for the Pelicans.
In the New Orleans Pelicans’ win against the Orlando Magic, two of their young players, Trey Murphy III and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, showed tremendous upside. New head coach Willie Green should be excited to see what unfolds in the coming weeks as the potential simmers.
From the looks of it, the Pelicans are not simply going to run and gun. They are willing to get down and dirty in the trenches. Their win against a depleted Magic side was not pretty, and the scrappiness was quite obvious. This could be a team of Willie Green’s image.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls have been making headlines over the past few months with one aggressive move after another. After getting Nikola Vucevic last season, they have added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to their roster. However, this time, they are turning heads not because of roster maneuvers but because of their play on the floor.
Veterans and particularly All-Star players usually ease themselves in the preseason. However, that does not seem to be the case for Zach LaVine. The Chicago Bulls’ best player is presently in a standoff with franchise management over contract extension talks.
Billy Donovan could continue to develop chemistry among his recent acquisitions, while Willie Green could choose to give more minutes to his promising youngsters.
New Orleans Pelicans Injury Report
Zion Williamson is the biggest name on the New Orleans Pelicans' injury report. He underwent surgery on his fractured right foot and should be ready for the regular season, per the Pelicans front office.
Both Brandon Ingram and Devonte' Graham are questionable due to left and right knee soreness, respectively. Meanwhile, Jaxson Hayes is out after spraining his ankle.
Chicago Bulls Injury Report
The Chicago Bulls injury report is a little less populated than the New York Pelicans'.
Tony Bradley is doubtful with a lower back strain, while Coby White had surgery on his left shoulder and is still on the mend.
Patrick Williams recently suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out for this game.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Predicted Lineup
New Orleans Pelicans
Willie Green has been alternating Jonas Valenciunas and Willy Hernangomez as starting centers in the preseason. We expect this to continue, so Hernangomez should man the 5 right off the bat.
Since Brandon Ingram is questionable, Trey Murphy III could finally start in one of the forward spots. Veteran Garrett Temple will likely get to play power forward.
Kira Lewis Jr., who has been playing starter minutes already, should get the nod as point guard to give Devonte' Graham a rest. Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been spectacular of late. Green should stay the course here.
Billy Donovan should build on the resounding success of the Chicago Bulls' preseason opener. Running back the same starting five would be ideal. Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball in the guard slots with DeMar DeRozan as a small forward is a very promising combination.
Nikola Vucevic in the middle should be guaranteed. Derrick Jones Jr. will likely start in the absence of Patrick Williams.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Predicted Starting 5s
New Orleans Pelicans
Point Guard – Kira Lewis Jr. | Shooting Guard – Nickeil Alexander-Walker | Small Forward – Trey Murphy III | Power Forward – Garrett Temple | Center – Willy Hernangomez
Point Guard – Lonzo Ball | Shooting Guard – Zach LaVine | Small Forward – DeMar DeRozan | Power Forward – Derrick Jones Jr. | Center – Nikola Vucevic
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