The New Orleans Pelicans are in a odd situation.
Most teams with two superstars whom create the most talented front court in the NBA would feel as if they are headed a good direction. However, that isn’t the case for the Pelicans. Despite having star big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, New Orleans does not seem to be on the verge of much success. While the Pelicans have only had Cousins for half a season, the duo does not seem like they will be able to get the team over the hump of mediocrity they seem to be stuck in.
The name change for New Orleans in 2013 from the Hornets to the Pelicans did not bring a change in success. While they did (barely) make the playoffs in 2015, that is the only year they have finished above .500. Along with that, before Cousins, only 2012 #1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis has proved to be an elite NBA talent. PG Jrue Holiday has been solid, but in a league top heavy with star point guards, Holiday doesn’t stand out. Besides that, New Orleans has not been able to produce talent or wins.
When the Pelicans traded for star center DeMarcus Cousins in February, most were puzzled at the move. While Cousins certainly does make the Pelicans better right now, most were unsure about why the Pelicans would give up a young talent in Buddy Hield and both their first and second round 2017 draft picks in return for a player who still would not make the Pelicans legitimate contenders. Even so, no one can fault a team for trading for an All-Star player like Cousins.
Heading into the 2017-2018 season, a question looms in New Orleans: how good can the Davis/Cousins tandem become? This season could potentially be Cousins’ last in Nola, so the Pelicans will need to give a reason for him to want to stay. Most can agree that AD and Cousins alone will not be able to carry the Pelicans very far in the prolific Western Conference. While many believe that there is little hope for New Orleans to turn it around so quickly, it is not out of the question. While the West is very good at the top (talking about the Warriors, Rockets, Spurs, and probably the Timberwolves and Thunder as well) there are definitely playoff spots open for the Pelicans to grab. Maybe, just maybe, they also could join the super-team bandwagon and trade for another star forward or guard. I realize that is far fetched, but it could be a great move to make Boogie want to hang around New Orleans longer, and even make the Pelicans contenders.
It is a make or break year for the New Orleans Pelicans. The NBA Finals are probably a distant dream for the team, they have the chance to become competitive and reach the postseason. That alone would be a win as compared to most of the Pelicans recent seasons. However, if they under-perform, it could lead to them losing Cousins to free agency and being set back even further in the process. At the least, it will be interesting to see how the season pans out for the Pelicans.