NBA Christmas: A gift for each team’s wish list in 2018

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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New Orleans Pelicans: The long-awaited trade for a two-way wing

Between Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle, the New Orleans Pelicans have all the offensive talent in the world. Even with an average 3-point attack, the Pellies rank fourth in offensive rating. No, the problem is the other end, where AD and Holiday somehow aren’t enough to keep this team’s 25th-ranked defense afloat.

When the Brow is on the floor, the Pelicans give up 108.0 points per 100 possessions. When he’s off the court, that number balloons to 113.5. With Holiday, NOLA sports a defensive rating of 107.5. Without him, it leaps to 115.1. With only two stout defenders, this team desperately needs to manufacture a long-awaited trade for a 3-and-D wing.

Doing so without giving up one of Randle or Mirotic will be difficult, especially with Trevor Ariza off the market now. Most likely, the Pelicans will have to part with their 2019 first round pick to entice someone into surrendering wing help. But with AD’s future in New Orleans approaching a crucial point with his possible supermax extension next summer, this franchise is running out of time to prove it can put a title contender around a legitimate MVP candidate.