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With Larry Nance Jr. out, who should Willie Green turn to against Bulls?

Filling Nance’s minutes is no easy task

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

When the New Orleans Pelicans tip off against the Chicago Bulls at the top of the hour, they’ll be without a key component.

Larry Nance Jr., who hyperextended his left knee against the Indiana Pacers, will miss his first game of the season.

Fortunately, the reserve big man avoided major injury as imaging showed no structural damage, so the hope is he’ll be able to return soon.

With no Nance against the Bulls, though, who will Willie Green trust to fill those important minutes tonight?

The Pelicans have been most effective defensively when Larry is on the floor, posting a team-best 105.3 defensive rating in his minutes. (New Orleans’ defensive rating when he’s off the floor? 113.6.)

In an ideal world, the replacement would be Jaxson Hayes. The fourth-year man has the all the ability in the world but inconsistency has plagued his career.

Willy Hernangomez is another option but lacks the versatility to play in switch-heavy schemes.

Perhaps going small, similar to how the L.A. Clippers operate, could be the choice. This route would give Dyson Daniels an opportunity to crack the rotation as the Pelicans could attempt to guard the lane by committee. There’s a load of athleticism and length available to offset not having a center on the floor from among Trey Murphy, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones and Naji Marshall.

Whichever direction Green chooses, it could very well decide the outcome against the Bulls.

For more on tonight’s matchup, please give our preview a read.

Let’s Geaux Pels!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (5-5) at Chicago Bulls (6-6)

When: November 9, 2022, 7:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.