In a nutshell, here’s what happened last night:
The New Orleans Pelicans swung for the fences. The Sacramento Kings cut their losses. No matter how you break it down, that’s essentially what transpired in one of the most out-of-nowhere trades for a big name guy that I can remember.
A Big, Easy Score
First, the Pels: whenever Tyreke Evans is the best player you have to give up, that’s a win. Yes, I know this is supposedly a loaded draft, but even before the trade, New Orleans was two and a half games out of the last spot. With so much mediocrity in both conferences, there’s no guarantee that they were getting a Top 10 pick anyway.
Are they “giving up” on Buddy Hield a bit early? Maybe, but I’m going out on the limb and predicting that Hield tops out as a solid starter/rotation player… not a star. Definitely well worth the risk, especially when you can acquire a dude like DeMarcus Cousins.
The on-court ramifications are downright scary. Yes, they lack perimeter firepower in a league where perimeter players thrive. However, the Pelicans now have something that no one else in the league can boast: not the Warriors, not the Cavs, not the Celtics, not the Wizards… not anybody.
They now have two top five big guys: Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis. Between them, they average 56 and 23. 56-23! Especially when the NBA lacks effective big guys, this is a HUGE development (I wrote in that in Trump voice, so hopefully you read it that way, too).
Now obviously, they have work to do still. Because Terrence Jones has undergone a mini-resurgence, he can probably fetch a halfway decent perimeter piece. Of course, it would be especially helpful if Pel’s GM Dell Demps
can find compromising photos of another GM can convince someone to take on Omir Asik‘s ridiculous contract.
Regardless, a Davis/Cousins/Jrue Holiday trio is a great place to start. If you somehow forgot about Holiday, he’s quietly an efficient 17-8-4 guy.
Too Early, Sacto?
Honestly, I thought the Kings would hold a bit longer. I find it hard to believe that this was the best deal on the table. Barring injury, Cousins sleeping with Davis’ mother, or something else completely weird that ruins their chemistry, you’re not getting a Top 5–10 pick from the Pels. Given the shaky bottom of the West, you’re probably not even getting a Top 15 pick.
I guess this ensures the Kings themselves will probably “earn” a Top 5 pick, but even that’s not a lay-up. What if Evans goes ham? What if one of the Kings’ big men turns out to be… dare I say… good? Either of these factors could lead Sacto into winning more than they should.
Putting on my “jumping to conclusions” suit, something must have happened behind the scenes that led Kings’ brass to believe Boogie was dipping. We may never find out what it was, but it happened. How else do you explain it? Two weeks ago, both sides wanted to sign a long-term deal. What happened to that?
I figured they’d have to eventually make a move. Time will tell if it’s the right one, or just another poorly timed move for a relatively hopeless franchise that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in ages.