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Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Projected Pelicans Lineup After Anthony Davis Trade

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson arrives for the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans will have a new-look lineup in 2019-20 after they reportedly traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pels sent Davis to L.A. for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA draft.

New Orleans also owns the No. 1 overall pick, and it is expected to take Duke superstar Zion Williamson, who will instantly become the new face of the franchise. With the fourth pick, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver, Virginia's De'Andre Hunter and Duke's Cam Reddish are possible selections.

In addition, key holdovers include guards Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore, center Jahlil Okafor (if the team exercises its club option) and power forward Cheick Diallo (if New Orleans retains him in free agency).

Forward Julius Randle has a player option for 2019-20, but he will likely decline it and land a longer deal in free agency after he enjoyed a career year.

There are question marks surrounding the Pelicans, including who they will take fourth overall, whether they will retain or trade Holiday and how healthy Ball (ankle) and Ingram (blood clot) will be when the 2019-20 season commences.

Assuming the Pels draft Williamson and Hunter, keep Holiday and have both Ball and Ingram at full health, they are in line to have deep, talented lineup.

If New Orleans goes small, a starting five of Okafor, Williamson, Ingram, Holiday and Ball is possible. Four of those players will have been selected third overall or higher in the NBA draft, while Holiday was the No. 17 overall pick in 2009 and is a one-time All-Star.

Providing support off the bench in that scenario would be Hunter, Hart, Moore, Diallo, Christian Wood and Kenrich Williams, plus the Pels could make some moves in free agency.

New Orleans won't have much in terms of true bigs, but with that roster, head coach Alvin Gentry will have the luxury of mixing and matching.

Williamson seemingly has perennial All-Star and MVP potential, and Holiday is already an All-Star. Ingram averaged 18.3 points per game last season and has a chance to average over 20 points per contest annually. Ball carries questions with his health and shooting, but he is a quality passer and rebounder from the point guard position.

The Lakers are getting the best player in the Davis trade, but if Williamson is as good as advertised and the pieces New Orleans is getting can stay on the floor, it seemingly has a chance to improve significantly on its 33-49 record from last season and perhaps even compete for a playoff spot in the West.   

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