Surprise Opening Night Starters: Portland's Outlaw and Chicago's Sefolosha

Guessing NBA starting line-ups on a night-to-night basis is a fool's game, and today is no exception. At least two coaches have made surprise changes of heart heading into the season opening slate.

In Portland, Nate McMillan has been talking up the prospects of giving injured Martell Webster's starting gig to rookie Frenchman Nicolas Batum. The fellow, a length of rope who whips around the court (sometimes without aim), didn't impress in the final few Portland exhibition games, though. As such, Travis Outlaw -- more of a sure thing -- has gotten the late call to start, reports Casey Holdahl of the Blazers.

In Chicago, Kirk Hinrich has been slated as the backcourt mate for rookie PG Derrick Rose. Instead, Vinny Del Negro has named Thabo Sefolosha the starting two-guard. To be honest, I didn't expect Thabo to be among the top four guards in the Bulls' rotation this fall, with Rose, Hinrich, Larry Hughes and ... um ... err ... (oh yeah) Ben Gordon (!) filling the spots. Hughes is broken (surprise), Gordon is still persona non grata (bummer), and here comes the Swiss Mister.

No word on whether Brian Scalabrine will take Paul Pierce's spot in the 8PM EST game, which you can follow with us here at FanHouse.

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Surprise Opening Night Starters: Portland's Outlaw and Chicago's Sefolosha originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on 2008-10-28T19:52:00+00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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