It’s been awhile since I put out an article so we have some pretty important stuff to cover, and I won’t get to it all. I could give you excuses for why I haven’t put anything out but the long and short of it is, I didn’t get to it. So instead of wasting your time on intros I never know how to write, let’s just dive right in.
You may have heard DeMarcus Cousins has been traded. This first section has essentially already been written for me by NBA twitter, which absolutely is a place, and if you aren’t an inhabitant of NBA twitter, then your twitter experience is very different from mine. (a complete side note that interests me about both twitter and chipotle is how two people can have two entirely different experiences with something, but yet still love that thing the same)
After spending the last few years making deals to “win now”, after they threatened to leave their city unless Sacramento gave them a new stadium, after ex-NBA player and then Mayor Kevin Johnson publicly campaigned for them to stay, after Mayor Kevin Johnson allegedly beat the shit out of some guy who hit him with a pie in the face, after pie throwing enthusiasts collectively decided to stay away from Kevin Johnson, and finally after Sacramento gave them a new stadium, the Kings traded away DeMarcus Cousins for a fucking half full bag of peanuts.
The trade is officially listed as the following:
The Kings send DeMarcus Cousins and Omir Cassipri to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Lagnston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, a top 3 protected 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 2nd round pick.
If you aren’t familiar with pick protections, essentially if the Pelicans somehow landed a top 3 pick in the 2017 lottery, they would keep the pick and the Kings would get nothing this year. I don’t know how it’s broken down but usually in these deals the Kings would get then receive the Pelicans 2018 first round pick which may or may not be protected.
If you think that’s bad, you’re right, but only gets worse from there.
GM Vlade Divac said today that two days ago he received a better offer for Cousins.
Also, the Kings are tanking this year now. They don’t really have a choice but that is definitely the goal as well. Only that’s a problem because due to a previous trade with the 76ers, the 76ers have the right to swap picks with Sacramento if the pick is between 1-10. Trading NBA picks can get pretty wonky. So even if the Kings landed that lauded top 1 pick, they wouldn’t get it because the 76ers (assuming their pick was lower) would swap with them and end up in that 1 spot (which would be so awesome. Complete side note but click here and scroll down to the 76ers and just look at the magic Hinkie made. He died for our sins).
But don’t worry, the Kings think Buddy Hield is the next Steph Curry….Despite the fact that DeMarcus Cousins has made 6 more threes on the year than Hield.
The Kings are a freaking mess. Outside of New Orleans, the franchise happiest about this trade has to be the Knicks, who now have to be edged out of first place for “most dysfunctional franchise.
But let’s stop crapping on the Kings and take a look at the Pelicans side of this.
First off, if you haven’t seen the tweet their twitter account sent out, check it out.
Second, how is this going to look exactly? Well, Anthony Davis leads the league in possessions out of the pick and roll so there will still be a healthy amount of Jrue Holiday/Davis PNR. Cousins runs a lot of ISO but he has a bevy of moves that features a pretty nice face up game and despite popular belief, he’s a pretty damn good passer, averaging 5.8 a game from December 15 on this year. (why Dec. 15? you’ll see later)
Danny Chau from the ringer half-heartedly threw out the idea of a Cousins/Davis pick and roll because Cousin does have some handles. As he outlined in his suggestion for this, the best thing about it is imagining opposing defenses crapping their pants watching that kind of length and size coming downhill at them.
I don’t actually think they’ll run that…but they COULD if they wanted to.
The Pelicans probably aren’t done dealing, they really could use a three point shooter but they’d likely have to sacrifice some depth do to that. It will be interesting to see what they could get.
This also triggers a number of other dominos. The Nuggets (also vying for the 8 seed) will probably make another deal. The Celtics, who I think were already out on Cousins, can now officially cross that off. I’m in the camp that the Celts should just keep their 2017 Nets pick because of how strong this incoming top 3-5 guys are in this draft. However if they were going to make a deal, it would be for Jimmy Butler and it would be coming quite soon. The Kings actually might continue to make deals. There’s been reported interest around the league in Ben McLemore who’s had a pretty salty February.
And there could be more to come. Every trade deadline comes with some level of drama, and I’m excited to see what this one churns out.
But since we were mainly talking about a deal involving two of the leagues best big men, lets do a blind player comparison. (please allow me that awful transition) I love blind comparisons because I really believe it’s hard for people to separate bias when they’re thinking about a player. Removing the name and just looking at the stats can sometimes give you a clearer picture of what’s going on.
The following guys are all 7 feet tall and no older than 26. These are their stats from December 15 on.
BSPG= blocks + steals per game
Player A: 25.4 PPG 12.35 RPG 2.1 APG 3.1 BSPG 51.2% FG 38.7% 3pt FG on 1.1 attempts per game, 2 triple doubles, 4 40+ point games
Player B: 27.4 PPG 10.4 RPG 5.8 APG 2.7 BSPG 45.1% FG 34.6% 3pt FG on 5.0 attempts per game, 2 40+ point games
Player C: 20.6 PPG 10.3 RPG 5.5 APG 1.8 BSPG 59.7% FG 41.7% 3pt FG on 2.2 attempts per game, 2 triple doubles, 1 40+ point game
Take a look at those stats for a little bit. All of these guys are killing it this year, obviously. Really, their stats are pretty similar. A and B score more, but C does it more efficiently and can shoot the 3 better while still putting up 2 a game. But if you had to choose one guy from that lineup, who would you choose?
Decided? Well here’s who each guy is:
Player A: Anthony Davis
Player B: DeMarcus Cousins
Player C: Nikola Jokic
Jokic was put into the Denver starting lineup officially on December 15, which is why we started with that date. He was starting to finally get some love before the All-Star break, but I fear this Cousins trade is going to take away some of his shine. He’s a beast. I’ve admittedly only seen him place a couple of times, but that’s mainly because he plays for Denver and it’s a little hard to retrain my brain to think Nuggets games are exciting ones I should be watching. They are 16-15 with him in the starting lineup and he turned 22 on Sunday (happy belated B-Day Joker).
If you haven’t seen him at all this year, start with this. It’s a 6-minute video but honestly it’s worth watching.
He has the passing gene and you can see it. There just aren’t a lot of guys in the league who see the court like that. He’s one of them, and Denver suddenly has a super star.
A few other quick hitters that happened since I last wrote a piece:
Miami somehow went on a 12-game wining streak
The Falcons blew a 28 point lead
Joel Embiid hasn’t played since January 27….gulp. I think he’s fine but it just terrifies me.
OKC got obliterated by Golden State but the fans cheered on a 21 point loss for some reason. Also, the press over scrutinized every single Durant/Westbrook interaction…and I loved all of it.
The Bucks have been on a skid and with the worst luck in the world, on THE SAME NIGHT they finally got Khris Middleton back, Jabari Parker went down, tearing his ACL.
And no one watched the All-Star game.