The New Orleans Pelicans added one of the top 10 players in the league in a blockbuster trade with the Sacramento Kings, but it remains to be seen how DeMarcus Cousins will play alongside superstar Anthony Davis. On paper, the Pelicans now have one of the scariest frontcourt duos of all time, but some analysts and fans are worried Cousins may be a destructive influence.
On Tuesday's episode of "Undisputed," Skip Bayless explained why he believes Cousins will separate himself from Davis and prove he's one of the most dominant players in the NBA in his new home.
Skip: Cousins is underrated by many because of his perceived character flaws
“I believe people are going to laugh at me and ridicule me for saying this, and I believe I will ultimately once again be proven right about this.
"This is the classic case of an Anthony Davis who is being overrated because he’s such a good guy, and DeMarcus Cousins, who is now being underrated because for years people have mistakenly dismissed him as such a ‘bad guy.’
"They exaggerated, and they did not take into consideration the circumstances under which [Cousins] was forced to play. But I’m here to tell you that DeMarcus Cousins is a better all-around basketball player than Anthony Davis. And let me explain, because you’re about to see that clearly now that they play with each other. And night after night you’re going to say, ‘Oh, he can do that. [Davis] can’t really do that.’ That is what’s about to happen."
Derick E. HingleDerick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Cousins escaped a very bad environment in Sacramento
"I realize that DeMarcus Cousins has been a psychological nightmare occasionally, [a] roller -oaster ride for the Sacramento Kings, but I remind you he had to play for six coaches in seven seasons in Sacramento. And I remind you that has become -- and it always really was -- a joke of a franchise with a goofy, delusional owner and a GM … we heard from Vlade [Divac] yesterday about, ‘Oh I had a better deal two days ago.’
"And the only reason Vlade has been able to keep his job is because of that goofy, delusional owner in Sacramento. So you have to keep DeMarcus in the context of where he was forced to play, under what circumstances."
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Skip: Cousins is an all-around better player
"But here are the three biggest reasons I like DeMarcus Cousins over Anthony Davis.
"Number one: He is a much better passer. In fact, I think DeMarcus Cousins is a gifted passer on the Tim Duncan-level of gifted big-man passers. He’s averaging five assists -- that’s more than Derrick Rose is averaging for the New York Knicks. I believe that if DeMarcus Cousins put his mind to it with the right [team] -- like if he had LeBron’s arsenal of sharpshooters and snipers, I think he could average 10 assists a night because he’s got that kind of vision as a big man. I’m not saying he’s as good as LeBron as a passer, but as big-man passers go, he’s in the highest echelon.
"Number two: He has turned himself into a really good 3-point shooter. 36 percent. He’ll make you two of five every game. As you well know, that can be a matchup nightmare issue for anybody who’s trying to cover him because he can really take advantage of you in the low post, and if he takes you out to the high post, you’re really in trouble. Anthony Davis attempted, starting last year, to turn himself into a 3-point shooter and he continues to struggle. He’s around 31 percent right now and he’s only attempting 1.6 per game. So he’s started to say, ‘I just can’t do that.’
"Number three: Let’s start to get to physical presence. I think even you would agree with me the more dominating interior presence is DeMarcus because he’s just a bigger, stronger man than Anthony Davis. DeMarcus [weighs] 20 pounds more, and he plays with more of an edge than Anthony does. It’s an edge I like, it’s an edge that has turned away and turned off a lot of referees that has gotten DeMarcus into all kinds of trouble. There are some nights where he gets on an angry roll, like a controlled rage roll, where he is virtually unstoppable. ... When he can keep it between the lines and not channel his anger at the referees or his coaches or teammates, he can be as dominating a force as there is in the league."
Sergio EstradaSergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Cousins is going to be incredibly motivated in New Orleans
"And that edge is missing in Anthony Davis’ game. I don’t see it from night to night, play to play like I see it from this guy, who is going to now be extremely motivated to show the NBA what a laughable package the Kings took for him.
"And I think he’s going to take it personally, like, ‘Oh that’s what the league thought of me? That’s the best they could get, that’s the best they were offered?’ I think he’s going to play with a new controlled rage or anger at the league as opposed to at his coach. I think he’ll be really good under Alvin Gentry, and I think he and Anthony will get along."