There are a few people in sports media (okay maybe just one) that love to bash NBA Cats for their lack of postseason success. There’s one big reason why that’s the case — they get drafted early by the worst teams in the NBA.
There’s two ways to solve that problem: leave the decimated team and never look back, or act as the cornerstone in foundation of the program’s improvement. John Wall is doing the latter right now, rolling through the playoffs at a pace that should take the Wizards to the Conferences Finals (knock on wood). One other former Cat is destined to do the same.
Bleacher Report used efficiency metrics to rank the best to never make the big dance. Brandon Knight was an honorable mention. Ranked seventh on the list with a 24.3 PER, Karl-Anthony Towns has only had two years to improve the Timberwolves, but he’ll be removed from this list soon.
Towns will eventually be permitted to represent the Western Conference, even if that hasn’t happened yet. He’s a generational talent who’s still just 21 years old, and that’s enough to earn such lofty placement.
Plus, the league has grown deeper since many of the aforementioned All-Star contributors suited up. Given the level at which he played in both 2015-16 and 2016-17, it would’ve been impossible to deny Towns an All-Star berth a few decades back.
The most disheartening position on this list is the man at No. 1, DeMarcus Cousins.
“It’s eating me alive. Every loss or every time another team wins in battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive. Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season,” DeMarcus Cousins said in January, per NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman, who also noted that Cousins and Kevin Love are the only players since the ABA-NBA merger to make multiple All-NBA teams before earning a playoff appearance.
Love has obviously done more than advance to the postseason since earning that ignominious honor. But Cousins hasn’t. Even after a deadline deal gave him a chance to end his drought and sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he could team up with Anthony Davis to form an all-world frontcourt, he was left in the lottery yet again.
This should change before too long.
If it doesn’t change next year, the Pelicans’ front office should be publicly shamed for not getting enough backcourt talent around Cousins and Davis, the best frontcourt in the biz.