How dangerous would the New Orleans Pelicans be right now if DeMarcus Cousins was healthy?
Unfortunately, that’s a question that no one will know the answer to.
After Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles injury midway through the regular-season, the Pelicans responded strongly, coming together to eventually capture the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
Following a dominant sweep against the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, they currently trail the Golden State Warriors 0-1 in their second round matchup.
Despite the fact that Cousins will miss the rest of the year and most likely a large chunk of next season due to his recovery along with the fact that he will hit unrestricted free agency in the summer, he has been very involved in New Orleans’ postseason run.
In an interview with David Aldridge for NBA.com, Anthony Davis revealed that his frontcourt mate is very much in the loop.
“He actually texted me today: ‘be great.’ I don’t think I have to try to keep him in,” AD noted. “He wants to be in the loop at all times. Of course he wants to be here and play, and it’s tough on him, especially the way we’re playing -- ‘man, I want to be a part of it,’ and you’re on the bench and we’re playing so well. He wants to be a part of it and he can’t. He tries to be part of the group as much as possible, whether it’s just texting us, he came to the games in New Orleans. I’m not sure if he’s going to come out here, but he’s there. ‘AD, next game, maybe you can do this,’ or ‘AD, defensively, offensively, or whatever, tell the team this.’ We have our own GroupChat with the players and he’s constantly texting us in there. He’s involved. And we can’t ask more of him.”
Just like everyone else, Davis can’t help but wonder what the Pelicans would have become had Cousins stayed healthy.
“We’d be a different team if he was playing. He brings so much to our team at both ends of the floor,” explained Davis. “Gives me a little break. But he’s a big key to our team. When he went down, that’s why we struggled the next five games. How do we run our offense now? A lot of stuff went through him at the top of the floor, because he was able to pass, able to dribble and facilitate. And so I had to kind of get back into, all right, ‘AD without Boogie,’ and got back into that and we were able to pick back up. If he was playing now, we’d be a totally different team. We’d probably be more inside-out. And then with the shooters that we have, adding Niko, our team would be totally different. And I think we’d be even more dominant.”
If Cousins returns next season and the current group stays in tact, the Pelicans could certainly emerge as a contender, even in a stacked Western Conference.
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