Mardi Gras started eight days early this year in New Orleans expedited by the Pelicans’ successful heist of DeMarcus Cousins also known as Boogie! Vlade Divac did an about face on his stance of keeping Sacramento’s star big man and let him go for crumbs. While Kings fans reel from this outcome, New Orleans prepares for their future lead by the NBA’s best two big men. The questions of how Anthony Davis and Cousins will fit on the floor are naturally flying in. I’m personally optimistic that this particular big man duo will be successful in the pace and space era of the NBA. I’m still bewildered this trade happened at all and I’ll share what went through my head when I found out.
1.“From the streets to the league, from an eighth to a key” Good Morning – Kanye West
Sometimes my thoughts are not actual thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts manifest in the form of music lyrics or movie quotes. Finding out Boogie is now teaming up with the Brow evokes such a response. The classic Kanye verse came to mind because just last week the rumor was that New Orleans was making a move for Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor. It’s fair to say that the 3-time All Star in Cousins is an upgrade from an unproven second year bench player in Okafor. New Orleans had it’s sights set on a Hyundai sedan and somehow came home with a Maserati at around the same price. How far we’ve come in just one week. Okafor is still a 76er for the time being and Cousins is now deep in Cajun country. I love the NBA.
2. “Because positions were created so that a novice could follow the game” – Jalen Rose
My morning routine typically consists of grogginess, coffee, despair at having work, and of course the Jalen & Jacoby podcast. I’m not always groggy, don’t always have time for coffee, once in a blue moon I’m fine with going to work, but I always listen to the best duo in sports entertainment. The podcast is a part of my daily commute and the esteemed Jalen Rose always has words of wisdom to share with fans. I recalled the Rose philosophy on positionless basketball when I first learned the biggest NBA trade of 2017 went down. Concerns about spacing don’t fit in my narrative of Boogie and Davis. Both are extremely skilled and do more on the floor than any standard forward and center. Davis was a point guard in high school and uses those skills in the NBA with frightening ease. Cousins will post-up with the best of them, put the ball on the floor, and knock down the open three. These two are not confined to any positional stereotypes. Welcome to the Renaissance.
3. Will Davis and Cousins comprise the largest pick and roll in history?
Two multi-dimensional talents in the likes of Davis and Cousins can truly do it all on an NBA court. The early flashes I’m imagining of a pick and roll between 253 pound Davis and 270 pound Cousins are giving me goosebumps. I know Jrue Holiday is still a Pelican and a very able point guard but I want Davis to run the show as much as possible with Cousins rolling to the rim. I’d love to research further and confirm that a Davis-Cousins pick and roll would be the largest in NBA history but it’s a federal holiday and nobody has time for all that. If you’re reading my blog then yes, Davis and Cousins will be the largest players to run the pick and roll on a regular basis. At 6’10 in Davis and 6’11 in Cousins, we’re all in for a special treat watching these two nimble behemoths dismantle opposing defenses.
4. Wait; New Orleans got Omri Casspi too?!?!
My lord this trade really was an all around heist job in every facet of the statement. Omri Casspi is not a household name but he’s on my short list of players who I irrationally root for in contrast to their low production on the court. Casspi is 28 years old and averaging 5.9 points this year. Considered an afterthought in this trade I however, know better than to overlook the pride of Israel. He’s a streaky shooter with good size, and an all around good person. Last year I was home in D.C. for Christmas and caught the hometown team beat the Kings. After the game, Casspi was eating dinner next door with his dad at the establishment my friends and I were at. A buddy and I had to give the man his due respect. Casspi was gracious and dapped both of us up. I looked him in his eye and said “keep shooting” he looked back and said “I will.” He didn’t actually respond to my statement but he did score 36 points a week later. Did my dap and motivational statement have an effect? No, it did not but that’s not important. Casspi will be an impact player for the Pelicans now that he too is out of the black hole which is the Sacramento Kings organization. I’m ready for the Casspi era of dominance to commence
On Thursday, we will all have our first glimpse of the new look Pelicans and how they fare against an impressive Houston Rockets. My prediction for the second half of the season is that the Pelicans will make the Playoffs as the eighth seed. The prediction places them on trajectory to play the first place Golden State Warriors in the first round. I’m rooting for Cousins and Davis to rewrite their destinies and make noise in this post-season and those to come. Articles have been written about how both of these players were superstars stuck on bad franchises. Now they get to be superstars together on just one bad franchise. Why would anyone root against them?