New Orleans Pelicans vs Toronto Raptors: Injury Updates, Lineup and Predictions

Published 12/23/2020, 5:00 PM EST
Dec 14, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


With another intriguing matchup scheduled, the New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors were at very different stages last season. The Raptors had finished at the top in the Atlantic Division standings at 53-19. But the Pelicans ended up at the bottom in the Southwest Division with a 30-42 record. This face 0ff is between the veteran-laden and the young stars of the upcoming generation.

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New Orleans Pelicans injury update and lineup prediction

When talking about the Pelicans, the focus generally falls upon their star, Zion Williamson. However, this season they are more than just a one-man army. In the offseason, they acquired former center from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Steven Adams. They also have point guard Eric Bledsoe, who was part of the Milwaukee Bucks last season.

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So, through trades, they have built a roster than their star Zion can rely on. Let’s not forget their lead scorer Brandon Ingram, who averaged 23.8 points last season. Williamson missed most of his rookie season because of injury issues and load management, but with no restricted playing time, he can unleash his inner beast.

Dec 14, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) shoots the ball over Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Though Lonzo Ball will help out on the offensive, Wenyen Gabriel and Will Magnay are out for the time being. So, the predicted lineup would be Steven Adams, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball.

Toronto Raptors injury update and lineup prediction

While the Pelicans didn’t even make it to the playoffs last season, the Raptors had to leave the Bubble with just inches from advancing to the Conference Finals. So, their target this year will be to bring another title home after 2019.

Their offseason was no less. Though they lost Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, they added center Aron Baynes and guards Alex Len and DeAndre Bembry. This team has filled itself with experienced players with a 6’6 forward Pascal Siakam to lead them.

Siakam has a bunch of accolades under his name. He was the Most Improved Player in 2018-19 and also became an All-NBA Second Team member last season. The postseason wasn’t as great for the star last season, so he will look to make his comeback with a bang. He also has All-Star guard Kyle Lowry to back him.

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Dec 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) drives to the basket as Miami Heat forward KZ Okpala (4) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With only Norman Powell questionable for their game against the Pelicans, the predicted lineup would be Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, and Aron Baynes.

Game predictions

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Sure, New Orleans has a better roster on paper, but a roster filled with veterans won’t be easy for them to get past. Therefore, expect the Raptors to take the win in this one.

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Yashima Bhatia

1091 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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