Ajinca (coach's decision) didn't play in Monday's 110-96 win over the Knicks.
Coach Alvin Gentry has been deploying exclusively undersized lineups of late featuring either Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas at center, leaving no room in the rotation for Ajinca and Omer Asik. Neither Ajinca nor Asik has played a single minute since Christmas Day, and the Pelicans surely are experiencing buyer's remorse after doling out four-year, $20 million and five-year, $57.9 million contracts, respectively, to the pair of centers. Only their exorbitant deals are likely keeping them on the 15-man roster at this point.
Ajinca will come off the bench for Monday's tilt with the Mavericks, Justin Verrier of ESPN.com reports.
The Pelicans are going to go small against the Mavericks, starting Solomon Hill, Dante Cunningham and Anthony Davis in the frontcourt. That leaves Ajinca on the outside looking in, so he'll come off the bench Monday. That said, he could very well be back in the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Clippers, with a potential matchup against DeAndre Jordan at center. Look for Ajinca to see a smaller role while working with the second unit Monday, thus restricting his fantasy value even more than usual.
Ajinca recorded 16 points (8-12 FG, 0-1 3Pt), eight rebounds and one assist across 27 minutes in a 113-100 loss to the Spurs.
Ajinca started at center for the seventh game in a row, and this was by far his most impressive performance during that span. While he won't typically offer this much scoring, Ajinca could be a decent source of rebounds and blocks in deeper leagues if he ends up sticking in a consistent 20-to-25 minute role. He's averaging 6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 18.0 minutes per game since joining the top unit.
Ajinca provided seven points (3-5 FG, 1-2 FT), five rebounds and two steals across 12 minutes in Sunday's 120-119 overtime win over the Suns.
At least for the time being, Ajinca seems secure in his role as the Pelicans' starting center, though he's done little to gain much attention in leagues where he remains on the waiver wire. While starting the past three games, Ajinca has played no more than 19 minutes on any occasion, and is averaging 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over those contests. It looks like Ajinca and former starting center Omer Asik will routinely see limited workloads, as coach Alvin Gentry will entrust Anthony Davis to log extensive time at the position during the course of games.
Ajinca will start at center in Thursday's game against Philadelphia.
Ajinca has only appeared in 10 tilts this season, averaging 12.9 minutes, 3.8 points, and 3.7 rebounds per contest. It's unclear why he's getting the start over usual center Omer Asik, but Ajinca figures to see a minutes bump as long as he remains in the starting five.
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