The 2016-2017 New Orleans Pelicans season did not go as planned. Some Pelicans shined, while others fell short. After a trade that brought DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, he enhanced a whole new identity and “Fire & Ice” to the team.
It’s been an interesting season for the New Orleans Pelicans and DeMarcus Cousins.
When the 2016-17 NBA season began, New Orleans Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps and Head Coach Alvin Gentry had high hopes to compete in the Western Conference. Their starter goal was to earn a spot in the NBA playoffs.
After an early season slump filled with numerous injuries and the health of players at stake, things went down hill for New Orleans. The Pelicans found themselves in a huge hole, one that continued to linger. It was centered around the issue of figuring out what players best fit in the rotation. Most importantly, who was best to play with Anthony Davis and give the Pelicans the best chance to win consistently.
Following the MVP performance from Davis in the 2017 NBA All-Star game, it gave Pelican fans something to cheer for. More importantly, with the Pelicans still in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference at the time, Davis’ performance gave the Pelicans fan base a sense of hope for the playoffs.
However, the Pelicans received more than a sense of hope.
This year’s trade deadline changed the entire outlook for the Pelicans’ season in a matter of minutes. Shortly after the NBA All-Star Game, the Sacramento Kings decided to trade DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and their 2017 first-round and second-round picks.
Boogie to the Big Easy brought instant excitement to the Pelicans’ franchise. Arguably as big as the Pelicans last playoff appearance. That dates back to 2015, against the Golden State Warriors.
Cousins, who averaged nearly 28 points, 11 rebounds and one block per game with the Kings, gave the Pelicans another offensive and defensive weapon to pair with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Together, they look to create their own version of a “Big Three” in the Big Easy.
In the Western Conference, battling against teams like Golden State, San Antonio and Houston to name a few, Cousins was not the final piece to the lingering issues for New Orleans.
The Pelicans perimeter scoring went to Sacramento. That proved to be a factor in their ability to win games down the stretch, when it mattered the most.
More from Pelicans News
- How will the Pelicans round out rotation without Trey Murphy III
- Why you can’t blame Brandon Ingram for all Team USA’s failures
- New Orleans Pelicans avoid potential disaster with latest injury reports
- 3 New Orleans Pelicans whose role will increase next season
- Pelicans getting the fans involved with their upcoming festival
Overall, the Cousins trade solidified a promising piece to the future of the Pelicans’ franchise. Finally, there is another superstar to play alongside Davis.
The “Fire and Ice” combination of Davis and Cousins showcased glimpses of greatness. The potential shined at times, when the two were in sync with each other. In only 17 games with the Pelicans, Cousins averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds per game. He would be the second leading scorer on the team during that stretch.
For the entire league, Cousins finished the season seventh in scoring. He shot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from three-point range.
Considering his impact in such a short span with the Pelicans, Cousins will look to contribute even more next season.
With the NBA draft roughly one month away and NBA free agency this summer, the pieces that Gentry and Demps put around Cousins will be very critical to his long term growth and contribution to the team.
The Pelicans biggest need for next season is perimeter scoring from their guards. They also have needs for a true point guard and shooting guard. If the Gentry is able to fill these needs during the draft or free agency, the possibilities for Cousins and the Pelicans can reach the skies.
With the Kings, Cousins was a three-time All Star and two-time member of the All-NBA second team. During his seven-year stint in Sacramento, the Kings never made the playoffs. Even with him putting up incredible individual numbers. Not to mention he was with no other star players surrounding him.
The idea is simple. Surround Boogie with another star player and a supporting cast. With that, he will remain on the All-NBA List and continue to be an NBA All-Star.
The Pelicans did not make it to the NBA playoffs this year. However, they did not miss the cut by much. Cousins’ impact plays a huge role in the Pelicans’ chance of competing for a playoff spot.
Beyond that, the deal to get Cousins to New Orleans arguably saved the jobs of Demps in the front office and Gentry as Head Coach for the Pelicans just a few days ago.
Thus, as the 2017 offseason unfolds and the future of the Pelicans’ franchise comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see how Boogie continues to enhance his game as a scorer and as a leader for those surrounding him and Davis.