Looking at the 2016-17 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans have made waves in professional basketball and are currently still alive with hopes of sneaking into the playoffs. Now I don’t think they’ll achieve that goal this season, but I do believe that there is a lot to look forward to in New Orleans for the coming years. Acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings was the biggest trade of the NBA year, which was received with some critics and skepticism. And while it hasn’t worked out immediately, this should be viewed as a huge piece for the 2018 playoff push and beyond.
As of today, having DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis on the court together hasn’t worked out smoothly. The chemistry hasn’t been able to build between the two superstars during such a short span of time nearing the end of a season. Most wins have come when one or the other is injured or rested. But the team has shown promise outside of these two pieces. The Pelicans defeated the Houston Rockets this past Friday night, a team who’s been hot as of late. Davis had himself a big game, but the real story was the role that all the other players had in this game. With Cousins out, four players scored in double figures Friday night, which is excluding the 24 points from Davis. The majority of the role players are still young and being developed. If they can continue to grow and add to their game, and possibly with a few more additions in the offseason, the Pelicans could be the team to watch next season.
As for development, a full offseason together will be exactly what Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins need to become a dangerous pairing while sharing the court. Coming from the same successful NCAA basketball program in Kentucky, both players have been coached on a championship caliber team that’s been known for consistency, while headed under a future hall of fame basketball coach in John Calipari. If they can find a rhythm to coexist on the floor professionally, having two big men who can dominate in the paint and show off their shooting range will be dangerous. The Pelicans would have something very special brewing in Louisiana.
Charles Barkley and Moses Malone. Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish. Tim Duncan and David Robinson. These are some of the dominant frontcourt tandems in NBA history. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins have the potential in talent to be listed among the greats. Both players have a lot to prove and some maturity to undergo, but having each other should only make the process easier. They’ve both had to carry the load on their own for so long, putting weak teams on their shoulders year in and year out, ending in failure. Now, they’ve been given their best potential team through the entire span of their careers, simply due to them both sharing the same roster.
As for how long they could potentially last? DeMarcus Cousins isn’t old in NBA years as he’s 26 in age, and Anthony Davis is even younger at only 24 years old. Many people may be surprised to realize just how young Davis is, knowing that this is his 5th NBA season. Although he’s had his share of losing seasons, Anthony Davis came into the league with a ton of warranted hype that somehow flies under the radar each year. This season, he’s currently averaging 27.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. At only 24. Pairing him with another big-man superstar can only be a scary sight for other teams in the Western Conference, as it should be. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a championship caliber NBA team. But a year or two might just be long enough.
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