Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Records: Raptors (0-0), Pelicans (0-0)
Where to Watch
Date: Oct. 22
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Spread: Raptors -7
Banner and Ring Ceremony
The 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors are set to kick off the 2019-20 NBA season with the ring and banner ceremony ahead of their contest with the Pelicans.
After winning the franchise's first-ever NBA title last season, Scotiabank Arena will be rocking as players and coaches accept their championship rings and watch the 2019 championship banner raised into the rafters.
Images of the rings and banner have yet to be released.
The buzz around the city - and country as a whole - will be unmatched as the Raptors are honoured, being the first Canadian team to win a title in one of the "big four" professional sports since the Toronto Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993.
Siakam's debut as the star
By now, you know that Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors for the LA Clippers this offseason. That paves the way for the 2019 Most Improved Player, Pascal Siakam, to become the star and future of this franchise.
The Raptors furthered that notion over the weekend, locking up the promising young forward to a four-year, $129.9 million max contract extension.
Siakam played a pivotal role in the Raptors 2019 title run averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in a breakout regular season. In the playoffs he continued that success to averages of 19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists including a couple massive performances highlighted by a 32-point outing in a win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The 25-year old is set to make his debut as the go-to guy for Toronto in this contest after averaging a team-high 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds to go with 4.0 assists over three preseason games.
The highly anticipated debut of rookie phenom Zion Williamson will have to be put on hold for the time-being. Williamson will be out for the first game of the season and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after receiving surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Fortunately for New Orleans, according to reports, a severe knee injury is out of the question for their young superstar.
Williamson is the heavy favourite to take home this season's Rookie of the Year award. He appeared in four preseason contests where he was as good as advertised all offseason, posting 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 71.4 percent shooting from the field.
The Raptors will have another chance at taking on the 19-year old sensation in their second and final meeting against the Pelicans on Nov. 8 if he has recovered from his knee soreness.
Jrue Holiday and company
With Williamson out of the lineup, the focus turns to the rest of Pelicans' the promising core.
Headlined by talented guard Jrue Holiday, New Orleans is expected to be a fringe playoff team in the Western Conference. With trade that sent All-Star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, there will be plenty of new pieces plugged into their lineup.
Holiday takes the reigns of the offence while also anchoring the defence. The 2019 All-Defensive Second Team selection also averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game last season and with Zion out, he'll likely be the team's leading scorer until the rookie returns.
They'll also look for help from new key additions such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Derrick Favors, J.J. Redick and Josh Hart in the roster's first regular season contest together, as well as rookie guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
While its uncertain who will take Williamson's spot in the starting lineup, Redick filled that void in the Pelicans' final preseason contest. Other candidates include Hart and last year's undrafted rookie standout Kenrich Williams.
Patrick McCaw (left knee soreness) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (left groin soreness) are out for the Raptors. In addition to Zion Williamson (right knee), Darius Miller is out for the Pelicans (right Achilles surgery).
• The final time the Raptors and Pelicans faced off last season, Kyle Lowry notched a triple-double in a decisive win for Toronto.
• Kyle Lowry missed the entire preseason as he recovers from offseason thumb surgery but is expected to play opening night.
• This offseason, Marc Gasol became the second player ever (Lamar Odom, 2010) to win an NBA title and a FIBA Gold Medal in the same year after Spain captured Gold at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
• Pelicans guard E'Twaun Moore exploded in his first meeting against the Raptors last season, scoring a game-high 30 points in a win.
• Jrue Holiday went for an impressive 29 points and 14 assists in that same first meeting against the Raptors last season.
Last Time They Played
Date: March 8, 2019
Score: Raptors 127, Pelicans 104
Raptors: Kyle Lowry - 13 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds
Pelicans: Julius Randle - 18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists