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Game 1: Pelicans hope to spoil ring night in Toronto on TNT

New Orleans doesn’t need Zion Williamson to ruin the Toronto Raptors banner unveiling, and they plan to prove it tonight.

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Brace yourselves, Pelicans’ fans!

We can finally put the Anthony Davis trade saga behind us! After the most polarizing and at times dramatic offseason in New Orleans sports history, the Pelicans will finally unveil the fruits of their labor.

Bring on leader and potential MVP candidate, Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans get a taste of what the unheralded two-way god can do as captain of his own ship.

Bring on Most Improved candidates Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Can the two live up to their lofty expectations as number two overall picks and break out in Nola?

Bring on Sixth Man of the Year candidate and the player who hasn’t missed the playoffs in 13 years, JJ Redick!

Bring on the untapped potential that is Derrick Favors. The revamped body of Jahlil Okafor. Rookie sensation Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, Frank Jackson, Nicolo Melli and so much more.

The elephant in the room won’t attend due to the debridement of his torn meniscus, but rest easy all, David Griffin’s words today should restore some confidence. After all, Zion Williamson already displayed his all-world athleticism, size and playmaking ability this preseason.

“The notion that this happened because Zion is in poor condition is asinine,” Griffin said of Williamson. “He wasn’t in poor condition when he went 12 of 13 last week against Utah. That’s not what it is. He’s just a very unique body type and certainly from a physics perspective.”

Andrew Lopez of ESPN reported that the Pelicans are optimistic they’ll have the number one overall pick sooner rather than later:

“Sometimes our job is to protect guys from themselves,” Griffin said. “So we’ll see how he goes through the process, but all the indications are very positive.”

So on they go to Canada to ruin the Toronto Raptors’ ring night. The Raptors will now roll over without Kawhi Leonard. They’ve still got a murderer’s row of veteran talent in Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol in addition to Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet.

The Pelicans will have their hands full on the opening night of NBA basketball. They have the deeper team but the Raptors hold the continuity and veteran intellect.

Can the Pelicans cast aside the shadow of their chosen one to silence critics and change the narrative from ‘boohoo’ to ‘yahoo’!?

We’ll see....

Let’s geaux, Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (0-0) at Toronto Raptors (0-0)

Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

When: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019. 7:30 PM CST

How: TNT, FSNO, 100.3 FM ESPN