Although the New Orleans Pelicans were the clear winner in the blockbuster deal for DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans must now figure out how Cousins can play together with All-Star MVP Anthony Davis, and how to build a team around their two frontcourt phenoms.
On Monday's episode of Undisputed, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe broke down how Cousins and Davis will work together as teammates, and Sharpe explained why it's almost guaranteed that Cousins will remain a Pelican for years to come.
Skip: It may be too late for the Pelicans to make much progress this season
"I think [they will fit together] well. It may be too late to figure it out this year, and they’re 1.5 games out of a playoff spot, but I think they have a chance to make the playoffs this year.
The problem is, to borrow LeBron James’ favorite expression, they’re a little top-heavy right now because they lost their middle. They lost their two-guards. They have a quality point guard, Jrue Holiday, and they have two really good fours, or whatever you want to call them. Although I think DeMarcus is more of a five than a four. He can play the five. So I think they’ll play off of each other pretty well. They didn’t play with each other, obviously, at Kentucky, but they’ve got the blue-blooded connection. Is Coach Cal going to be in the mix pretty soon? I don’t know, I’d like to see it. He could coach these two guys."
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: The Pelicans now have very few scorers outside of Davis and Cousins
"They gave up Tyreke and they gave up Hield, so they gave up two shooters, two combo-guard types. But Buddy Hield, in the end, I thought he became a liability. He plays no defense, he has no two-point game at all, he’s just a three-point shooter. So do you miss that much? I don’t think so. But you’re going to have to go with E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill… it’s not great. They’re saying they’re going to trade Terrence Jones, maybe they could get a quality shooter back for Terrence Jones, who’s been pretty good for them.
But just the quality of [DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis] together. Anthony Davis seemed like he was jubilant last night that they got him, so I’m going to figure they’re friendly enough, and that DeMarcus will share the basketball enough that they’ll be a good tandem."
Derick E. HingleDerick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: The Pelicans will make the playoffs as the 8-seed
"They play very similarly. Both can put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop, both can shoot the three - Boogie Cousins is averaging five three [attempts] a game, he’s shooting 36 percent. Both guys can play with their back against the basket.
So they’re very, very similar. Both are 25 and 10 guys. I would be shocked if they don’t become the eighth seed, because they’re too talented at just those two positions. And really one guy can change your fortunes. Now you have two top-10 players on the same roster with Jrue Holiday. I like coach Gentry, I believe they get it done."
Bob DonnanBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: New Orleans will look very different from the NBA's current elite teams
"Moving forward, if they get a two-guard and pair him with these guys with Jrue Holiday running it? Boogie is 26, Anthony Davis is 23 years of age. 23!
… They don’t have three-point shooters. They can’t play like the Rockets, they can’t play like the Warriors, they can’t play like the Cavaliers where you’d spread the floor. LeBron and Kyrie goes down the lane and they dish and kick. That’s not who they are. You’ve got two top-10 big men, you’re going to have to play through them. They’re going to pound you on the boards now."
Bob DonnanBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Will Boogie stay in New Orleans?
Skip: So, the final thought is, will DeMarcus then choose to stay in New Orleans after a year? Because his agent has said all along ‘if you trade us, we will not stay where you trade us to.’ Will that change now?
Shannon: Skip, if he stays it’s five years, $179 million. If he leaves, it’s five years, $139 million. Now he just cost himself $30 million, you think he’s going to cost himself $40 million? I don’t know any player in the NBA that’s taken $40 million less. Carmelo wouldn’t take $20 million less to go to Chicago. So you think a player’s going to take $40 million less?