DK Nation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2022-23 campaign. Here we take a look at the New Orleans Pelicans, who hope to use last season’s playoff run as a springboard to something better. Zion Williamson is returning after missing all of last season, so the Pelicans believe they can make a bigger leap than many anticipate.
New Orleans Pelicans 2022-23 Outlook
Key additions: Dyson Daniels
New Orleans also added E.J. Liddell, but he’s out for the year after an injury in Summer League play. Daniels is a high-upside guard who likely won’t crack the rotation in a big way this year. Nevertheless, he’s one to watch for the future.
Key departures: None
The Pelicans lost some fringe players in free agency but no one who would really hamper the rotation. New Orleans is eventually going to have to make some tough calls but for now, everything is solid with this lineup.
Given the hype around last year’s playoff run, there might be some outlandish thoughts on the ceiling for this team. If Williamson is able to stay healthy, the Pelicans likely expect to win a playoff series. If that is all that happens, the season will be viewed as a success.
Projected starting lineup
This is a tough call because Jonas Valanciunas has been a strong producer for years. However, the Pelicans like Herbert Jones a lot. McCollum, Ingram and Williamson are locked into their roles. Devonte’ Graham could come in as the point guard, but New Orleans opting to go big with Jones at the small forward spot and Valanciunas in the middle to start the year seems likely.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Zion Williamson
Williamson’s injury situation appears to be cleared up. The star averaged 27.0 points per game over 61 contests in the 2020-21 season. That is superstar-level production, but there is concern about further injuries given his physical build. Fantasy managers who take Williamson could get a player who finishes the year as a top-10 guy or someone who hobbles through injuries and ranks in the middle of the pack. He’s the most interesting player on this team and he determines New Orleans’ ceiling.