The New Orleans Pelicans were a franchise that had heightened expectations heading into last season. There was even a juncture when they were first in the Western Conference. Injuries to the likes of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram forced them to slide down and finish ninth in the West. New Orleans has had a relatively quiet offseason as they signed Herb Jones to a contract extension and added Cody Zeller to shore up their frontcourt.

Their front office and coaching staff are relying heavily on the continuity of their squad and the full recovery of Williamson. The powerhouses in the West have shored up their lineup like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and Memphis Grizzlies, so it will be difficult for the Pelicans to compete with these organizations. The leap of Trey Murphy III last year was fantastic, but they will need a couple of more high-level players to elevate their numbers if they want to finish as a top-six team.

Jones and Larry Nance Jr. were two forwards who took a step back last year but will need to rekindle their form this season. Speaking of rekindling their form, adding Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby via trade can propel the Pelicans into serious contention.

OG Anunoby 

There were murmurs around the league that Anunoby was a key commodity that almost every franchise was interested in before last season's trade deadline. The expectation was he would be moved, but Toronto stood firm and was unwilling to move him in any deal. Reports indicated that the asking price was too high, so teams like the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies were not willing to go all-out on a wingman who has not made an All-Star team yet.

Anunoby is the perfect starting 3 for a championship-contending squad, but overpaying for him is another thing that must be considered immensely. Michael Porter Jr. and Andrew Wiggins are the prototypes of guys who are not franchise cornerstones but play a vital role in a team's success. Anunoby fits that billing, which elevates his value a notch higher than others.

The Pelicans' big 3 of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum are all pure scorers who can get 30 every night, so any piece they add to the puzzle does not need to be a pure scorer. He must be someone who can do everything else and flourish as a supplementary piece, such as defending the best player on the opposing team and moving consistently well off the ball.

From the looks of it, Anunoby is the connector and Swiss Army knife that New Orleans needs to compete with the aforementioned squads like the Lakers and Warriors. The Pelicans do have Murphy III or Jones to play over 30 minutes at the wing position, but they are still inexperienced to bang bodies with veterans like LeBron James or Kevin Durant in a seven-game playoff series

Anunoby will not back down from those guys, and he has the playoff experience to back it up. Furthermore, he can be the secondary scorer when defenses focus on their stars and the Pelicans need other guys to rack up the points. He will average close to 15 points per game with the Pelicans, but he can still get 20-25 a night. Attacking closeouts and nailing corner threes will be the constant ways Anunoby can rack up points.

The Pelicans have young assets and draft capital to make the trade happen, so they must pursue it, especially if the Raptors do end up moving Pascal Siakam as well.