The New Orleans Pelicans will open the 2016 preseason schedule against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night. As it has become customary, the exhibition game will be played in a more obscure location, with Bossier City the host city tonight. The game will start at 7pm, but it will not be televised. The best bet to follow the action live is either by listening to Daniel Sallerson and Jim Eichenhofer on the radio (99.5) or using the New Orleans Pelicans app.
Alvin Gentry will start Langston Galloway, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill, Anthony Davis and Alexis Ajinca. In case you missed it, the head coach had Tim Frazier, Buddy Hield, Hill, Davis and Ajinca together during the open scrimmage this past Wednesday. It would appear Hill and Davis are currently the only locks to open the regular season in the starting lineup, but with a strong performance, Ajinca might not be too far from following suit.
Hield stated this will be the first time he’ll come off the bench since 2013.
#Pelicans' Buddy Hield says he will be coming off bench for first time since freshman season at Oklahoma— John Reid (@JohnReid64) October 1, 2016
Incidentally, the biggest thing to watch during the preseason will be how the guard rotation pans out. With Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Quincy Pondexter all likely unavailable until at least December, it is important for Gentry to center in on a couple of reliable combinations, both among the starters and reserves.
I had initially assumed Frazier/Hield and Galloway/Moore made the most sense, but after attending the open scrimmage, I now believe Galloway/Hield and Frazier/Moore might be the way to go. The practice game emphasized the idea that Frazier and Hield should be split up because they formed a noticeably weak defensive unit. Both Galloway and Moore, each known for the defensive contributions first, proceeded to have big scoring games in the open scrimmage. Imagine what further damage quality NBA backcourts might be able to inflict against the duo.
It is unclear at this time who Rick Carlisle will start, but Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, Devin Harris, Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams will reportedly all be unavailable.