The New Orleans Pelicans will enter Sunday's match off three consecutive losses. Their season started with an upset against the Philadelphia 76ers, a game they lost by 20 points. They fared no better in their second and third games as well.
Although the Pelicans have been playing without their golden boy Zion Williamson, their consecutive losses have highlighted a glaring issue with the team's defense and bench players.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, meanwhile, have played one less game than their Monday night opponents. They have won both their games this season, which is a great start to their campaign after they were seeded 13th in the Western Conference last season. They have already beaten New Orleans once, and will try to do so again in Minneapolis.
New Orleans Pelicans Injury Report
Zion Williamson is the best scorer in the Pelicans' roster. His restricted-area dominance in both offense and defense is key to his team's success. However, with offseason surgery on his right foot, Williamson is not expected to play in the first few weeks of the season.
New Orleans' vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, while speaking to Andrew Lopez of ESPN, said about the player's injury and recovery:
"It's everyone's goal that Zion returns to play as soon as safely possible. Obviously, two to 2½ weeks from now means he will not be on the floor for the first week of games. When he is able to return safely, we will do that."
Meanwhile, Josh Hart and Daulton Hommes have been listed as questionable for the Minnesota Timberwolves game. While Hart is recovering from right quadriceps tendinosis, Daulton's appearance has been put into question due to a sore right peroneal.
Minnesota Timberwolves Injury Report
McKinley Wright IV, who was injured in the previous game against the New Orleans Pelicans, is expected to make a return on Monday. With his return, the Minnesota Timberwolves have zero injured or ill players on their roster, and will host the Pelicans with all players at their disposal.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Predicted Lineups
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans' squad is not the same as it was in the 2020-21 regular season. Jonas Valanciunas, who moved from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Pelicans, is a dominant center capable of averaging double-digit rebounds. He'll likely start the game alongside Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram in the frontcourt. Devonte' Graham could start on the backcourt with Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
The trio of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell are establishing themselves as a formidable scoring combination. They mowed down the Pelicans and the Houston Rockets by absolutely dominating at the offensive end.
However, the Timberwolves lack impressive off-the-bench scorers, which may pose a problem for them as the season wears on. The Timberwolves could start with Towns, Jaden McDaniels and Josh Okogie in the frontcourt; and Russell and Edwards in the backcourt.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Predicted Starting 5s
New Orleans Pelicans
Point Guard - Devonte' Graham | Shooting Guard - Nickeil Alexander-Walker | Small Forward - Brandon Ingram | Power Forward - Herbert Jones | Center - Jonas Valanciunas.
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Point Guard - D'Angelo Russell | Shooting Guard - Anthony Edwards | Small Forward - Josh Okogie | Power Forward - Jaden McDaniels | Center - Karl-Anthony Towns.