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Updated Playoff Predictions: DeMarcus Cousins forces reevaluation of Pelicans odds

New Orleans is poised to go streaking up the Western Conference standings!

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Predict how well the Pelicans Boogie-AD experiment fares over the rest of the season. Will the Pelicans make the playoffs and what do you predict will be their finishing W/L record over these remaining 25 games.

Jason: Playoffs


I may just still be high off the adrenaline rush of seeing another superstar on the team, but I absolutely believe that DeMarcus Cousins will play well alongside Anthony Davis! Davis can focus on the pick and roll and outside shooting, while Cousins can dominate down low and spread the court when needed. Defensively, Cousins will take the beatings from larger centers and provide an above average rim defender, while Davis will continue to patrol the air space around the rim.

It deserves to be mentioned that both players should feel happier and relieved to not have to carry a franchise single handedly, not to mention this allows for Davis to play his natural position. This should assist in the formation of a deadly combo sooner rather than later, and once they develop that on-court chemistry and add another piece or two, this team will be scary.

So, I think that the Pelicans will make a second half push, going 16-9 (give or take a game), make the playoffs and face off against the Golden State Warriors in the first round, rewarding NBA fans with perhaps an interesting series.

Kevin: Playoffs

I believe that this pairing, following a brief adjustment period, should go 16-9 down the stretch and allow the Pelicans to capture the 8th seed with a 39-43 record. I would bump that win total up a few notches if I had more confidence in Alvin Gentry... but I don't.

Still, in a Western Conference sludgy cellar, finishing under .500 can get New Orleans into the postseason where they become the ultimate wildcard — the team no one will really want to play.

Isaac: Playoffs

I think the flashes of potential will be shining from day one — but flashes and not the finished chemistry. While I think the Pelicans have assembled a rock-solid foundation with the trade, there's still some tinkering left before the roster is fully operational. Cousins and Davis will provide a melange of highlights, but the Pelicans will still leave a few games on the table. The team makes the playoffs, finishing with on a 15-10 run to end the season.

Jamile: Playoffs

I think the Pels have a good chance to finish the season 16-9. Depending on what happens with Portland at the trade deadline, the Pels now have a great chance to seize the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference.

One issue the Pels have had is that they couldn't consistently beat bad or mediocre teams. They've lost several "should've had that one" games this season. Now, they should beat lower echelon teams consistently and be much more feisty against top tier competition. Make no mistake, there will be an adjustment period — expected after bringing in a star of this level — but sheer talent alone should push the Pels into an interesting series with Golden State.

David: Playoffs

I really want it to be sunshine and roses right away, but it may take some time. The best part of the schedule is that New Orleans gets 9 games before they play Portland and 15 until they play the Denver Nuggets, their two clearest rivals for the 8th seed. The last ten games feature Denver three times, Portland once, Dallas once (another 8th seed contender), and the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. Oh, and Golden State in their 80th game when they might have the top overall seed wrapped up but not in reach of breaking a season wins record.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

There's a real chance things take some time to get rolling, but the last 40% of the schedule sets the Pelicans up for a big run rise up the standings. I'll be bold and suggest the Pelicans finish the season 15-10 and get the 8th seed by a game, or even a tiebreaker, over the Denver Nuggets.

Zachary: Not sure

With a lack of appropriate practice time there's bound to be a couple of growing pains. But there's going to be flashes, if not entire games of greatness from this Davis-Cousins tandem. With players as good as these two they'll figure out how to play together.

As for win-loss I'm expecting at least a 15-10 finish and that hopefully gets them to the playoffs. If they miss by a game or two that's okay, at least the franchise is showing that they're going for it.

Oleh: Playoffs

At a minimum, the Pelicans will win 14 of their remaining 25 games, but the problem is, I don’t see the potential for too many more additional victories, not when one factors in adjustment time on the fly and a somewhat imbalanced roster. However, with the Nuggets finishing schedule looking harder on paper, I still have to give New Orleans the slight edge over Denver.

I’m with David — the Pelicans chances will hinge on their head-to-head matchups against the Nuggets. If they win two of the three games, I like their odds of squeezing into the postseason as the 8th seed.

Ryan: Playoffs

Honestly, I think New Orleans was the best landing destination for Cousins if not simply for the fact that AD and Boogies’ personalities clash well together. I think both being from Kentucky will benefit them because there will already be a little bit of chemistry. I think they can definitely secure the 8th spot if Boogie and AD figure a way to play well together. I see them finishing 17-8 or 16-9.

Travis: Miss the postseason

I have to admit that I am a pessimist; many facets of my life are "well, but" or "did you hear about this mass murderer?"

After taking a look at the schedule the rest of the way, I see a pretty equal amount of games that are against "good," "bad," and "average" teams. There's 3 huge games against Denver, including a home-and-home set in early April that could determine who makes the playoffs, and 2 more games against Portland, including the last game of the year (on a SEGABABA).

I'm sure I'll be writing about the Cuz-AD pairing for quite a while, but I'm coming out of the gates very wary of the on-court product, saying nothing of all the off-court issues including Cousins' pending suspensions for the rest of the year after technical fouls. I *HOPE* they turn out to be Godzilla and Mothra, but I think they'll be more like the last two cars in a demolition derby, too wrecked and confused and helpless to do any damage the rest of the way. Sorry, guys, no playoffs thanks to an 8-17 record the rest of the way.