The New Orleans Pelicans face the Los Angeles Lakers on the road Friday night, and it will bring one of the offseason’s biggest storylines surging back to the surface. The two teams executed a blockbuster deal over the summer that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and an assortment of draft picks. Now the Lakers, who missed last year’s playoffs, are the best in the West. The Pelicans on the other hand are struggling to stay afloat without Zion Williamson (knee) and rank 14th in the Western Conference. But New Orleans young core should be extra motivated to put up a fight against the team that exiled them.
Los Angeles overcame a late-game deficit in November to claim a victory in New Orleans, but now the Pelicans have a chance to even the series at 1-1 on enemy turf. This is one of the more entertaining narratives you’ll see, and we broke down the best lineup strategies for the Pelicans-Lakers Showdown matchup.
LeBron James ($20,100) is on a roll and is fresh off a performance in which he totaled 73.8 DKFP while notching 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists against the Phoenix Suns. The NBA’s leading assist man has recorded at least a double-double in nine of his last 10 games and was one assist and one rebound away from a triple-double in the lone game he didn’t reach that mark. James is showing no signs of slowing down and will face a Pelicans team that ranks 24th in defensive rating (112) this year. He should stay on the same pace.
We can’t ignore the narrative here, and because of that you have to consider going with Anthony Davis ($18,300) in hopes he goes off against his old team. He’s been one of the most dominant players in the league and could be force fed against New Orleans to emphasize that his choice to demand a trade was the right one. But he has been listed as probable for a few games because of lingering shoulder soreness and hasn’t reached 50 DKFP in four games.
If you consider Davis, you have no choice but to look at Brandon Ingram ($14,700) too. He was once considered the Lakers’ next head honcho before being shipped off and is having a career year. He’ll certainly have incentive to show Los Angeles what it’s missing out on, which definitely makes him worth a value captain play.
Jrue Holiday ($9,000) remains one of the best two-way guards in basketball and should present a matchup problem for Los Angeles. Since James serves as the Lakers’ point guard, Holiday will likely spend his time guarding less adept ball handlers like Avery Bradley and Danny Green. This should present plenty of opportunities for steals and blocks. Holiday’s tenacity as a perimeter defender paired with the fact that he’s scored at least 20 points in each of his last five contests makes him a quality option.
Another flex play you should have on your radar is Lonzo Ball ($7,600), who is coming off his best game of the season. He notched 65 DKFP earlier this week against the Houston Rockets by tallying 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He also made a career-high seven 3-pointers in the contest. New Orleans’ Ball-Holiday pairing forms one of the more talented defensive backcourts in the NBA and shouldn’t be underestimated on the offensive end.