Naughty by nature

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Calipari isn’t coming to coach the Pelicans and Chris Paul isn’t leaving the Clippers midseason to run this team. Let’s enjoy exactly what we have, two of the most talented big men in NBA history, sharing the court together. Sure, there are some questions whether they can coexist on the court as there should be but in the end, this is going to be fun.

Only one thing stands in the way, can Demarcus Cousins pull it together. He sits at 19 technicals for the season which is a career high and he’s never had less than 12 since he joined the league. He has been disqualified four times this year and ejected 11 times.

Let’s look at a case that worked out, Rasheed Wallace, a player that may have had his moments of outburst but once he made his way onto a team he felt had a future, he was able to put the chemistry of the team ahead of his own problems. For Cousins it may be different, this represents his opportunity to show that it wasn’t his problems that plagued the Kings for so long, it was their inability to surround him with a team capable of having a winning season in the league.

The main asset remaining is point guard Jrue Holiday who has been quietly having one his best years of his career. He’s shooting 39 percent on 5.9 3-point attempts per 100 possessions. He’s a fluid player, can operate the pick and roll and move off the ball well. He’s the key.

Cousins has had problems with point guards, including MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas who he exiled before the Kings could even find equal value in a trade. Unfortunately for New Orleans it ends there.

So cohesion between Boogie and Holiday is crucial to something as simple as a playoff berth this year.

There is a reason the Celtics wouldn’t touch Cousins, whether it was Thomas’ voice ringing in Danny Ainge’s ear or not, there is an obvious risk vs. reward question looming over the league.

On Thursday, November 17th, 2016 the Sports Illustrated staff put together their best prediction of what exactly the NBA would look like in 2020. Answering questions about the finality of “the process”, what NBA will look like down the line, and whether or not there is a team back in Seattle or not. Interestingly enough, another topic was touched on, you guessed it, the Boogie and Brow isolation from the rest of the league.

“Will Anthony Davis and Boogie still be trapped?” read the title. And it’s a true NBA miracle that this question was answered so sweetly. These sorts of things just don’t happen anymore, not since the historical Harden trade anyway. Just last week Cousins claimed he wanted to be a King for life and his agent claimed any team to sign for him he would not resign with. It may be different now.

Jordan had Pippen, Malone had Stockton, and Shaquille had Kobe. Just maybe, maybe Cousins can be Davis guy, or vise versa. A small ball movement has been the obvious tide of the NBA in the past few years and now we have the counter case which could be on full display in the first round of the playoffs.

Cousins joins another perennial all-star, one he can share the responsibility of the team with, one he can put his trust in. A Cousins, Davis tandem could draw in veterans willing to sacrifice and other star players looking for talent to join.

On the Kings front, they weren’t going to win with Cousins. Last year marked the first time that the Kings won over 30 games with him on the roster and they still ended the season at the tenth spot in the conference. They were middling out and that’s not good.

This trade guaranteed the Kings kept their first round draft pick that was top ten protected. As well as their own first rounder, the Kings received one from the Pelicans which could fall out of the lottery depending on how the rest of the season goes for the Pelicans. Buddy Heild, a lottery pick himself currently in his rookie year, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans and a second round pick would round out the rest of the deal.

It’s tough to believe nobody else could have made a better offer. The Celtics and Sixers have put together a better offer? They surely could have but it’s interesting. The way the NBA is going, a lot of teams don’t see a reason to carry two big men, especially two that are demanding high end contracts.

Teams like Denver, who have Jokic, and the Sixers, who have Embiid already, believe they have their guy at that position and aren’t willing to risk what they have. A similar situation happened with Boston, who didn’t even test the waters. They have seen the Isaiah, Cousins tandem play out and it doesn’t play well.

Not so often a talent like this comes around and the Celtics and other teams may just regret this decision down the road. Although maybe they know something we don’t know considering the talent that could possibly be available as the trade deadline approaches.

This simply shows where the league stood with Demarcus Cousins and the aura that surrounds him as a player.

The Pelicans only sit two and a half games behind the final playoff spot and adding a great player is definitely enough for them to get into that spot as long as Cousins doesn’t bring a negative-net win worth.

New Orleans looks to be active in the free agent market at the deadline, holding tryouts for guards.

Michael Lantinen can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com. 

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