The trade that rocked the NBA during All-Star Break is finally its stride. The New Orleans Pelicans have finally started winning games with DeMarcus Cousins. They’re 6-4 in their last ten games, including two straight impressive victories over the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was just about a month ago when DeMarcus Cousins got the news that the Sacramento Kings were trading him to the Big Easy. And it wasn’t exactly ideal, either – he heard the news while briefly doing interviews with the press. Fans could see the surprise on his face, as he murmured, “Oh really?” But in seconds, he was saying only good things about his New Orleans All-Star experience.
The Boogie era had begun for the Pels.
An Offensive Titan
After the trade, the early returns were nonexistent. The New Orleans Pelicans dropped three straight games right away. They would go 2-6 over the first couple of weeks, and one of those wins included a game where Cousins sat out. For a while, the trade looked absolutely disastrous.
But a team featuring both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis was sure to show a few bright spots eventually. Two of the best big men in the league soon started to showcase flashes of a potential offensive titan. The New Orleans Pelicans have now won 4 of their last 5, scoring at least a hundred points in every game. They’ve also scored at least 120 points in 3 of their last 5.
The offensive prowess was in full display during in a pair of first halves against the Rockets and Wolves, where they put up 68 and 75 points respectively. Perhaps, there’s a reason Cousins is continually lauded as a top-10 talent in the league. Perhaps, there’s a reason Anthony Davis won the All-Star Game MVP award and broke Wilt Chamberlain’s ASG scoring record. These two can play.
“If I’m blessed enough to have a job here, absolutely,” Cousins once said when asked about the opportunity to play with Davis, per CBS Sports. “Whatever happens, happens.”
Cousins ought to embrace it now, because the New Orleans Pelicans now have some of the best future prospects in the league. He’s only 26; Davis is 23.
But of course there’s always a catch: beyond the two, and maybe Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans don’t have a lot of high-quality players at the moment. Role players? Maybe. But they’ll need more than that if they want to make deep playoff runs in the future against the likes of Golden State and San Antonio.
And let’s not forget that Cousins’ contract is limited and he’s hitting free agency in 2018. The Pelicans have to show that they can win games in this short window. They have reassure DeMarcus that they’re surrounding him with the right roster. If they can do that within the 2017-18 season, Cousins could re-sign.
Then we’ll be seeing a new power balance in the Western Conference for a long time to come.