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Don’t doubt Demarcus Cousins’ Pelicans

Headlines broke during the All-Star break after Demarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. 

The trade left many NBA fans flabbergasted. The Kings traded away a top NBA talent for rookie Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans (who is averaging a career low after his third right-knee surgery), a future 2nd round pick, and a future 1st round pick

.The start for the new Pelicans team has been a shaky one. The team lost their first game to the Houston Rockets on Thursday by 30 points, then once again suffered a loss last night to the Dallas Mavericks (96-83).While the team has gotten off to a rocky start, there’s no reason to start doubting the future of the Pelicans.

The side now possess two franchise big men in Anthony Davis and Cousins. Both of these players were recently featured in Bleacher Reports’s top 25 NBA Super Star Rankings (Demarcus Cousins 11, Anthony Davis 3).

Dual Post Scoring ThreatsBoth Davis and Cousins rank in the top 6 in points scored per game among qualified players this season. Having two versatile, fast big men on the floor at one time creates a match-up nightmare for opponents. It’s tough to stop these players even by double teaming them, but now that’s not really an option.ReboundingIn recent years, the New Orleans Pelicans have lacked talented depth at the four and five positions. This has led the Pelicans to use 21 different starting lineups this season.  Despite starting in 19 games this season, Center Omer Asik has only played more than 22 minutes in five games. While Asik struggles to be able to play consistent minutes, he has shown incredibly efficient rebounding numbers of 16.2 rebounds per 48 minutes. Asik was never truly an NBA-calibre starter, but he’s now a very solid option for the Pelicans coming off the bench. 

They now possess two of the top 11 rebounders in the league in their starting roster, with Cousins averaging 10.7 rebounds per game and Davis averaging 11.9 rebounds per game this season. In time, the Pelicans should start dominating the glass with their new starting roster, and with Asik coming off the bench, they would be expected to not let up when the starters are off the floor.Spreading the floorPreviously lacking multiple stars, as well as three-point shooting threats, the Pelicans have struggled to spread the floor in recent years.  

With the acquisition of Cousins, the Pelicans now have two bigs who can knock down the long ball, in addition to being dominant in the post. Both Davis and Cousins are shooting at least 30% from three-point land this season. Once you add players like Jrue Holiday (38% 3P% this season) and role players Solomon Hill (35% 3P%), E‘Twaun Moore (38.5% 3P%), and Hollis Thompson (35% 3P%), the Pelicans will now have five deep ball threats on the court in their starting lineup.

While with the exception of Jrue Holiday, none of these players are elite three-point shooters, they are consistent enough to help spread the floor. 

This should open up room for Cousins and Davis to make plays in the paint.Small forward Omri Casspi (39.5% 3P%) was also acquired in the trade of Cousins to the Pelicans, but he broke his thumb in his first game in New Orleans and was waived.

There’s a long shot he could be back in a Pelicans jersey for the playoffs.  This would be yet another great addition to help the side further spread the floor.



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