Considered by most as the winner of the NBA trade deadline hullabaloo, the New Orleans Pelicans have yet to win a game with DeMarcus Cousins
The New Orleans Pelicans knew what they were getting when they traded for DeMarcus Cousins. They knew that he was without a doubt, one of the best talents in the NBA today. A big man who was near unguardable thanks to his varied offensive skill-set. Together with Anthony Davis, the Pelicans would have a “Twin Towers” of their own that they hope could rule the NBA. Unfortunately, New Orleans hasn’t had much luck when it comes to winning with their new lineup. Since they got Cousins, they’ve been on a 3-game losing streak. So what’s wrong with Pelicans?
— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) February 27, 2017
Cousins and Davis a bad fit?
Even before they became teammates in New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis have long known each other. Both played together at the University of Kentucky under coach John Calipari. Cousins managed to get into the NBA first and soon showed a lot of promise. Now in his 7th year, he’s currently averaging 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Davis on the other hand, has continued to impress with his 28.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.4 blocks this season. With these two in their lineup though, the Pelicans have yet to win a game. What’s even worse is that they’ve managed to lose the three games they’ve played after the All-Star Break by at least 10 points.
DeMarcus Cousins is the first player since Moses Malone (1986) to record 31 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes or less.
— Pelicans PR (@PelicansPR) February 27, 2017
While most pundits would point out that the two don’t fit each other’s games, I’m actually of a different opinion. To back my thoughts up, let’s look at their numbers. Outside of that game in Dallas, Cousins has shot more than 50% from the field. Additionally, he’s also averaging close to 5 assists and 13 rebounds per game while playing alongside Davis. Against the Thunder just recently, he even managed to put up 31 points in just 21 minutes of action. As for Davis, he hasn’t seemed to slow down even with another big man in the lineup. In fact, both his scoring (35.3 points per game) and FG attempts (27.3 FGs attempted per game) have increased since the trade.
With this bucket, AD has scored the most points in a quarter (24) in @PelicansNBA franchise history!
— NBA (@NBA) February 27, 2017
Jrue Holiday has to step up
If the stats are anything to go by, the New Orleans Pelicans don’t have a problem in the front court. Instead, their problem lies in their now depleted back court. As you may remember, the team had to give up Tyreke Evans and Buddy Hield to get Cousins. With those two gone, the Pelicans have lost a floor spacer and a playmaker. Despite the numerous injuries he’s had, Tyreke Evans still is a nightmare match-up for most guards. He’s big for his position, has great handles, and knows when to pass or shoot. With his loss, the onus has been on Jrue Holiday to create looks for his two All-Star big men. The result? Not very encouraging.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 22, 2017
In their three losses, Holiday has only cracked double-digits in scoring once with 18 points against the Mavs. His other two performances had him scoring only 6 points each. Assists-wise, he’s only made an average of 6 in the three losses. While this might seem like a lot, it’s kind of pedestrian considering New Orleans’ stacked front-court. For the New Orleans Pelicans to truly become successful, they’ll need Jrue Holiday to take his game to another level.
Can the New Orleans Pelicans make the playoffs?
As much as I’d like to root for them, I just don’t see the New Orleans Pelicans going 22-0. Why 22-0 you ask? Well, that’s the number of games remaining in their schedule. They’re currently 13th in the west and are a good 3 and a half games behind the Nuggets for 8th. Despite this, I’d still give the Pelicans a passing grade for the season even if they don’t make the playoffs. If they can sing DeMarcus Cousins long-term then they’re going to be hard to stop in the coming years. Of course, they’ll need to get another playmaker on board. With two All-Star big men though, that shouldn’t be so hard to do.
DeMarcus Cousins is ready to go with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. pic.twitter.com/4DUN2GCziK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 22, 2017