The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Demarcus Cousins trade will not make the Pelicans championship contenders

In the world of professional basketball, there is one topic that is dominating headlines everywhere: DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. Cousins, arguably the best center in the NBA, was recently traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for what amounts to a bag of chips and some change. 

Considering the NBA season is on break at the time of this article’s writing, every media outlet imaginable is focusing their efforts on speculation regarding his acquisition by the Pelicans, and they are largely predicting success. 

At first glance, it would certainly make sense to say that. Cousins joins Anthony Davis, who is certainly one of the three best power forwards in the game, and that means that New Orleans has the best big man tandem out of any team in the league, bar none. This fact would make it very easy to think the Pelicans are now a title contender, but I would challenge that notion.

It is a good idea to mention that, up to this point, New Orleans has been a pretty bad basketball team. They currently sit at the 11th seed in the Western Conference, and are about 5 games away from being dead last. 

Anthony Davis has been a superstar of course, but the rest of the team has left quite a lot to be desired. According to the NBA’s website, Jrue Holiday is the only other player that is averaging over 12 points per game, and no other guard is scoring double digits at all. 

This highlights the fact that the Pelicans have primarily had issues in their frontcourt, so adding Cousins to the mix does not address that problem at all. 

In fact, they traded away their youngest prospect for him in Buddy Hield, who also happens to be a guard. Sure, having the “Twin Towers” on their team will improve their record and make them a respectable basketball squad, but I do not see them making a deep run in the playoffs at all. I do not even see them making it to the second round.

In addition to the team’s overall failure, DeMarcus Cousins is known for losing control of his emotions on a regular basis. NBC reported that this year he became the fastest player ever to reach his 16th technical foul of the season and face suspension as a result, doing so almost a month earlier than anyone has done in years previous. This is also his third year to reach this number of techs out of the seven he has played so far. 

The outbursts he has had in the past can possibly be attributed to the overall horrendous management the Kings have contended with in the past decade or two, but I am inclined to believe that this will not suddenly cease to be an issue now that he has been traded. 

If this is the case, it will become a huge challenge for him and Davis to gel completely on the court, and that is something that absolutely has to happen in order for the Pelicans to see any kind of success. 

Finally, there is the issue of Anthony Davis’s injury history. Fox Sports has Davis succumbing to over 20 injuries since the 2013-2014 season, and the past two seasons have been especially serious in nature. While he has been relatively healthy this year, it will only take a few more injuries for the “injury prone” label to be aptly applied to him. 

Hopefully Cousins can take some of the pressure off Anthony Davis to carry his team so that those injuries can be mitigated, but if that does not happen, DeMarcus will face the same situation he faced in Sacramento. 

There is a reason that the New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the worst teams in the league for years. Adding DeMarcus Cousins does give them the potential to become championship contenders, but they will not do so immediately. 

The Pelicans have to develop a backcourt, keep Cousins reined in, and find a way to keep Davis healthy first, and all three of those tasks would be very difficult to accomplish for much better organizations than New Orleans. 

 

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Demarcus Cousins trade will not make the Pelicans championship contenders