Christmas Day is the biggest NBA showcase of the regular season. Five consecutive games stretch from the early afternoon until well after midnight. Thanks to Paul Lukas of Uniwatch we now know what the Pelicans would wear if they are one of the ten teams competing. Included are designs for 27 of the 30 teams. Lukas withheld the designs of the Milwaukee Bucks (about to reveal their new uniforms), Philadelphia Sixers (the same), and the Toronto Raptors (suspense).
As such, this uniform alone is not proof that the Pelicans will be playing on Christmas Day. Anthony Davis has yet to play on December 25th. New Orleans has only played on Christmas Day once, in 2008. That game, a 88-68 drubbing at the hands of Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic, was Chris Paul's debut. Not coincidentally in his fourth season after getting the then-Hornets into the playoffs the previous year.
Other big stars, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, appeared on Christmas Day as rookies. Durant would have to wait until his fourth season to become a mainstay after leading the Thunder to playoffs in his third season. James would wait even longer, until 2007, and has appeared on Christmas Day every year since.
The league moved to the five game format in 2008. The Los Angeles Lakers have appeared every year since. The Miami Heat and New York Knicks have appeared every year since 2009. The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder are going on five years straight. The Clippers' streak stands at four. Those six plus the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are nearly locks to appear. That leaves just two truly "open" spots in the schedule.
The Atlanta Hawks or Washington Wizards are likely to claim one of those remaining spots. A trip to the conference finals and some semblance of conference equality demand it. Does the star power of Anthony Davis trump the market size of Houston or Dallas? The sustained success of the San Antonio Spurs? All of this would be much easier if the de facto appearances by the Lakers and Knicks were removed.
This much is certain, if the Pelicans do play on Christmas Day, they will look really good.