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Here are Jack Green’s four NBA picks to consider for Wednesday night’s season opener between the New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors were the second seed in the East last season and should again be contending at the top of the conference this year after bringing back the majority of their roster.
They should get off to a good start against the Pelicans, who missed the playoffs with a 30-42 record in 2019-20.
Toronto won the two meetings between these teams last season, both by a margin of at least eight points.
Over 229 total points
The Pelicans were the fifth-highest scoring team in the NBA last season with an average of 115.8 points per game, while the Raptors were just above league average on 112.8.
This fixture finished 130-122 last season and there will likely be plenty of points again in this season opener.
Zion Williamson over 24.5 points
Williamson averaged 22.5 points per game last season after missing nearly 50 games through injury, and the 2019 No. 1 pick looks primed for a major boost in production now that he’s fully healthy.
Zion looked fantastic in the Pelicans’ two preseason games, scoring 26 against the Miami Heat and 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and will likely be the focus point of New Orleans’ offense on Wednesday night.
Fred VanVleet over 18.5 points
VanVleet averaged 17.6 points per game for the Raptors last season, improving upon his 2018-19 average by over six points.
The point guard stepped up his production even further in the Orlando bubble, leading all Raptors with an average of 19.6 points per game in the playoffs, and he should continue to take more of a starring role for Toronto this season.
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