After acquiring DeMarcus Cousins last Sunday following the All-Star Game, the New Orleans Pelicans suddenly have expectations of making the NBA Playoffs. However, despite adding the best center in the association, New Orleans lost depth at both guard positions.
Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a future first- and second-round to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2017
Right away, it was clear that the Pelicans now lack depth and shooting. In recent days, these issues have been resolved.
#Pelicans have signed Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 23, 2017
Jarrett Jack has agreed to a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, league source tells @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 24, 2017
The Pelicans are in the process of signing Reggie Williams to a 10-day deal, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2017
Prior to these signings, the only point guards on the team were Jrue Holiday and Tim Frazier. The only shooting guard on the team was E’Twaun Moore. Now that the holes have been filled, it’s time for the Pelicans to rise in the Western Conference standings and make the playoffs.
The DeMarcus Cousins era hasn’t started off too great to say the least. They’re 0-2 so far, including a 30-point loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday. To be fair, they didn’t have Hollis Thompson, Jarrett Jack, or Reggie Williams available in that game.
It may take a while to get these new pieces involved and familiar with Alvin Gentry’s system, but this process cannot take too long. Time is running out, and New Orleans currently sits 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded, Denver Nuggets.
According to Prediction Machine, the Pelicans have played the tenth hardest schedule so far. With their schedule looking to lighten up, they must capitalize and win games. The Nuggets can easily fall out but the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, and Minnesota Timberwolves are all within reach of that last spot.
New Orleans cannot bet on all those teams losing. The Trail Blazers (2), Kings (4), and Mavericks (6) all have had hard schedules too, ranking in the top ten. Their schedules will become easier as well.
With the added depth, the New Orleans Pelicans have the talent to make any potential playoff series interesting, regardless who the opponent is. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are perhaps the best front-court in NBA History.
Along with the newly added pieces and point guard, Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans’ time to compete is now. They cannot let this opportunity go to waste, especially after fixing their depth issues.