I hope everyone enjoyed their All-Star break. I didn’t watch anything live but did see the highlights and didn’t think the Dunk Contest was quite as bad as social media made it out to be. It also isn’t often that a Wilt Chamberlain record goes down, which is saying something considering how many records Dipper holds.
For the most part, I focused on keeping up with of the trades around the league so we can pick things up in the second half (teams have really played about two-thirds of their regular season games by this point) where we left them in the first. Both teams in our game tonight made an acquisition over the break, one a little bigger than the other.
Boogie Cousins probably didn’t pack everything for his trip to NOLA for All-Star Weekend but it would have been fortuitous. Anthony Davis is a unicorn. It’s hard for me to call DeMarcus Cousins the same, only because he carries a darker persona. Perhaps he’s a fire-breathing dragon, or a centaur. Either way, of the exclusive group of uniquely talented big men, the Pelicans now have two, and two of the very best. They acquired Cousins for three quarters on the dollar, too, as all it really took was Buddy Hield and a first-round pick this year that will fall outside the lottery if the Pelicans catch the Nuggets in a race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Cousins gives the Pelicans a terrifying inside-out presence because of the versatility he and Davis have to defend the rim and step outside to close out three-point shooters. Even if you put one in a pick-and-roll, the other will be coming from the weak side to contest penetration. That gives the defenders involved in the screening action that much extra availability to defend the screener. But we’ll soon see for ourselves. Houston is the prototypical pick-and-roll team in the NBA and I expect Cousins’ presence to have an immediate impact on James Harden‘s ability to make plays tonight.
But as is the case so often with new acquisitions, the offense might take some time to synchronize. That’s no problem, as you may have guessed that I’m thinking under tonight. I don’t think Houston’s new toy off the bench will slow down his new team, however. Lou Williams is a professional scorer who will fit right into the Houston offense. I’m not sure he’s an anyone more than somebody who makes Houston a little more competitive with San Antonio for the right to lose to Golden State, but he will pack a punch off the bench. Let’s hope he’s just a little jet-lagged, or takes some time adjusting to his new uniform. The under is the play.
Free Pick: Under 227