The New Orleans Pelicans were always going to be fighting for a playoff spot, but Anthony Davis feels DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury robbed the team of a chance to truly contend.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Davis said the Pelicans would’ve been a real threat in the postseason.
“We could have gone through the playoffs. No one could really stop us as bigs. We go to the Finals if we went.”
Prior to Cousins’ injury in late January, New Orleans ranked sixth in the league with a 108.3 offensive rating, per NBA.com. Since then, however, the Pelicans’ scoring efficiency has dropped to 104.6, which is the eighth-lowest mark.
Davis acknowledged he’s feeling the pressure to carry a heavy load, saying “it goes back to AD before DeMarcus, a lot of minutes, weight of the world on your shoulders.”
Although that’s a role the 24-year-old Davis is capable of handling, that’s not the makeup of a championship-caliber roster. Cousins providing 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game made life much simpler for Davis.
Instead, the Pels are facing an uncertain future. Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Davis — though under contract — may grow tired of good-not-great teams, especially if Cousins doesn’t re-sign.
Should that happen, New Orleans will be left wondering what could’ve been in 2017-18. And Davis thinks it might’ve been special.