By JOSH WHITE
It is almost a forgone conclusion that the Cavaliers and Warriors are going to meet in the NBA Finals come June. However, other teams are still trying to upend the previous two NBA champions.
Most notably, all-star center DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans to pair up with Anthony Davis, giving New Orleans the best front court in all of basketball. However, the Pelicans sent an overhaul of average players including Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, a top-three protected 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick.
While many analysts and news media members expect the now powerhouse of Cousins and Davis to lead the Pelicans to the playoffs, the trade could be a waste. New Orleans sits three and a half games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but even if it lands that last spot, that sets them up with a date with the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Good luck playing a team that had the best regular season in history one year ago.
What’s even worst of all, will a team with a selfish Cousins jell together?
In night one, clearly not. The Pelicans got annihilated by the Rockets, 129-99, and the first appearance of Cousins in a Pelicans’ uniform was spoiled.
But look at history. Most blockbuster trades take some time for adjustment.
When the Knicks paired superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, most news media members felt that New York was going to have a championship caliber team. Wrong.
The Knicks struggled because the two all-stars butted heads and couldn’t figure out how to be the No. 2 scoring option on a team. Additionally, there was no supporting cast. The Knicks lacked talent because they gave it all up for Anthony, similarly to the Cousins’ trade, and soon found out that basketball is a five-person game, not just two.
Expect the Pelicans to struggle. Yes, New Orleans now has the best two front court players in the NBA, but they don’t have any other above average role players. There’s 10 others seats that can fill the bench next to Coach Alvin Gentry and that is something that is going to show.
So while the news media think that Cousins and Davis could be a team that might contend, think again given the top dogs like the Warriors, Spurs and Clippers.
Time to sit back and relax until Golden State and Cleveland meet in the NBA Finals.