Frank Jackson lofts up a floater in Atlanta last season

Pelicans open preseason Oct. 7 in Atlanta, a matchup featuring four top-10 picks

by Jim Eichenhofer

As an entire league awaits the release of the official 2019-20 NBA regular season schedule, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the 2019 preseason slate will begin roughly two months from today. On Monday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced their five-game schedule, with first-round picks Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker expected to make their unofficial professional debuts Monday, Oct. 7 on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. That Pelicans-Hawks opener will feature a total of four top-10 picks, including Atlanta lottery selections De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

New Orleans will play the bulk of its preseason schedule on an every-other-day basis from Oct. 7-13, taking the floor four times, including three contests on the road. The team’s lone home tilt at the Smoothie King Center in preseason will occur Friday, Oct. 11 vs. the Utah Jazz.

In addition to facing Atlanta in State Farm Arena on Oct. 7, the Pelicans will make trips to a few of the NBA’s most storied arenas, including Chicago and the United Center two nights later. On Sunday, Oct. 13, New Orleans visits Southwest Division rival San Antonio for a 3 p.m. tip-off (incidentally, the NFL’s Saints are in Jacksonville to face the Jaguars in a noon Central kick-off the same day). The Pelicans wrap up preseason Friday, Oct. 18, meeting the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The NBA’s regular season will begin Tuesday, Oct. 22. In the recent past, every NBA team has opened its 82-game docket at some point within the first three days of the regular season.

Every Pelicans preseason game will be broadcast locally on radio via ESPN New Orleans (100.3 FM). New Orleans has not televised preseason games in previous years, but some games are subject to be added nationally by NBA TV. The network generally announces its schedule of live preseason games in September or early October.

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