When former Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury last month, there wasn’t much hope for the New Orleans Pelicans to make any major run in the NBA Playoffs. In fact, many analysts thought the team could miss out on the Playoffs entirely, which could have led to head coach Alvin Gentry getting fired and Cousins leaving in free agency this summer to play for a “winner.”
Beyond that, star forward Anthony Davis had already expressed slight frustration in the team not taking the steps forward necessary to build a contender, and there was worry Cousins’ injury and impending departure could have led to Davis eventually demanding a trade, kickstarting a complete rebuild for the Pelicans.
Needless to say, the situation was troublesome in the Big Easy.
Instead of letting Cousins’ injury ruin the season, Davis has completely taken over the game of basketball, quickly jumping into the Most Valuable Player race.
Since Cousins has been out, Davis has carried the Pelicans to a 9-0 record, averaging 38 points and 15 rebounds per game, and has dropped 40 or more points five times.
In fact, he’s the first player since Karl Malone to average 35 PPG and 10 RPG in nine straight games.
AD in his last nine games:
— Cycle (@bycycle) March 7, 2018
Not only is Davis placing himself firmly in the MVP race, at least one NBA analyst believes the former Wildcat big man is coming for LeBron James’ crown as the best player on the planet.
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 7, 2018
With the Pelicans surging, Davis is becoming more and more content in New Orleans, and Cousins apparently likes what he sees, too.
In an interview with Marc Stein of the NY Times, Davis said he’s going to “keep selling the dream” to Cousins, and that Cousins “plans” on being back in New Orleans.
In fact, Cousins is missing his time on the court with his Pelican teammates so much that he asked Davis for his Achilles at halftime last night.
“DeMarcus told me at halftime, he said if you’re not going back in, let me get your Achilles,”- @AntDavis23
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 7, 2018
If you haven’t jumped on the Pelican bandwagon yet, you might want to jump on soon.
It’s very likely to be headlined by Davis and Cousins for the next several years.