Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Willie Cauley-Stein. What do all these men have in common? They are the Kings last 5 lottery picks. The highly talented players that were supposed to blossom around DeMarcus Cousins and bring the Kings back to the playoffs. A place they haven’t been since Mike Bibby and Chris Webber were running the show in Sacramento.
The Kings after what has seemed like years finally pulled the trigger and moved Cousins. The recipient is New Orleans a team with arguably the best big man in the league in Anthony Davis a Kentucky product just like Boogie. The Pelicans send Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Buddy Hield and 2017 1st and 2nd round picks for Cousins and Omri Casspi.
The Kings currently sit 1.5 games back of the Nuggets for the 8th spot in the West. But what good would getting that spot do? A 4 game sweep at the hands of the Warriors. By moving Cousins and giving up on the season the Kings will have a good chance of keeping a 1st round pick that the Bulls could get. Also Sacramento will not have to worry about shelling out north of 200 million dollars in a contract to Cousins. The Kings can fully commit to moving on from this tumultuous era and try once again from start.
Now to the Pelicans who were swept by the Warriors two years ago in the playoffs and have been trying since then to build around their once in a generation talent Davis. The Pelicans are 2.5 games out of the 8th spot right now and adding Cousins can give them a realistic shot of sneaking in. Now the best front court on paper in the league resides in the Big Easy. Davis is averaging 27 ppg and 12 rpg with 2.5 bpg to go along with 30% from three while Cousins is averaging 28 ppg and 10.6 rpg with 35.6% from three. The shooting from three should help space for the floor considering most teams are not looking to have two dominating frontcourt players in this day and age.
In the backcourt the health of Jrue Holiday is going to be a huge factor in how much success this team can have. The Pelicans best bet will be to try and surround these two big men with the best shooters they can find and give them as much space to operate. New Orleans is taking a chance here to acquire Cousins. He currently leads the league in technical fouls with 19 and has consistently been among the league leaders in that stat as well as fouling out of games. He was also causing problems with coaches, management or the media. However, with what the Pelicans are giving up in exchange for his talent is worth it. They risk wasting Anthony Davis’s talent by not making this move.
Cousins was born in Alabama so this about as close to home as he can play in the NBA which should be a positive. Since last season was such a disaster and this one looked to be one again the future is now once again very bright for the Pelicans. Even if this year ends without a playoff berth or any early exit at the hands of Golden State or San Antonio there’s still much to like. This will all hinge on Cousins signing a long term extension with New Orleans which is something I think he will do given his situation. He is out of Sacramento, playing with a top 10 talent, has a more than competent point guard and an offensively minded head coach in Alvin Gentry. With a full offseason under their belts the Pelicans can realistically take aim for the top half of the West next season.
Boogie will need to change his attitude and give better efforts night in and night out because there is no denying the amount of talent he possesses. In New Orleans two of the best big men will be playing together. It will be up to them to make it work but there’s no reason it shouldn’t. Even though most teams want to chuck up as many 3’s as possible and play small the Warriors were still exposed in the playoffs last year by the Thunder and Cavaliers bigger lineups. Play slows down and the refs bite down on that whistle which is where size can play a huge role. New Orleans made a blockbuster move they would have been dumb to not pull and now we will have to wait and see how it all works out. With that being said how exciting will it be to see Davis and Cousins playing for the same team later this week.
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