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Game 27: Lonzo Ball’s recent move to New Orleans bench on-going experiment aimed to boost Pelicans reserve production

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Derrick Favors is expected to see 20 minutes of action against the Orlando Magic today.

New Orleans Pelicans v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

After seeing 15 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers in his return to the team two nights ago, Derrick Favors is expected to receive a slight bump up in play today as the Pelicans host the Magic, falling in the range of about 20 minutes of action per Alvin Gentry.

This is important for not only improving the overall efficiency of New Orleans defense but to combat the return of Orlando’s starting center, Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic had missed the previous 11 games for the Magic due to a sprained right ankle.

During pregame, the Pelicans head coach also touched on Lonzo Ball’s role, specifically as to why he’s recently found himself coming off the bench with the reserves.

“We needed someone else on that second unit that could pass and deliver the ball, and find shots for guys,” said Gentry. “We thought that putting him in that role and then sticking another guy, Kenrich {Williams}, into the starting lineup might help the overall flow of the game for us. It’s just been really tough because of the injury situation...But we’ve really struggled some in the second quarter, not just defensively but just creating offense. We’ve struggled in that area so we thought that might be the move to make.”

Gentry went on to add that Ball coming off the bench is an on-going experiment, but the move shouldn’t surprise many when looking at the statistics. Since Nov. 22nd, the Pelicans reserves have compiled the worst plus/minus in the NBA while shooting a league-worst 37.8% from the field. The bench unit could definitely use the jump-start, and maybe, just maybe, this forces Ball to create more off the dribble and eventually bumps his confidence level up once he finds some success?

Personally, though, I feel this move will not be a permanent one. With how well the two played together in preseason action, expect Lonzo to move back into the starting lineup once Zion Williamson returns, this likely at the expense of JJ Redick’s starting role despite how well he’s spread the floor with his outside shooting.

For more on today’s preview against the Magic, please give Preston’s preview a read.

Geaux Pels!

Where To Watch/Listen

What: New Orleans Pelicans (6-20) v Orlando Magic (11-14)

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: Sunday, December 15, 2019 2:30 PM CST

How: Fox Sports New Orleans