Before last night, DeMarcus Cousins was not inexperienced with ruptured Achilles tendons.
Back on January 18, 2017, Rudy Gay suffered a season-ending torn Achilles and Cousins was unfortunately given a front row seat to his Sacramento Kings teammate’s injury. Boogie, who happened to notch his fifth career triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on that fateful night, was at a loss for words with the media following the game.
“He’ll be in my prayers,” said Cousins, “but a guy in that situation, what can you say to him? Like, what’s the right thing to say? None of us have experienced that before. None of us know the pain he’s dealing with right now. So what can you say?”
“I told him to keep his head up and I’m praying for him,” continued Cousins, “but I was limited on words. I don’t know what to say to him, somebody going through a situation like that. I honestly don’t. It’s hard, honestly it is, it’s hard. I mean to sit there and try to psych yourself out. You know, to not start thinking about your own body. Or the possibility of the same thing happening to you on the next play. It’s hard. Watching your teammate get carried off. It’s hard.”
Boogie went on to mention in the link above that Gay’s injury was the second time he’s had to watch a teammate get carried off the court after a gruesome injury. Paul George was the first. Remember the broken leg that PG-13 sustained after colliding into the basketball stanchion in a Team USA game on August 1, 2014?
Sigh, so now Cousins knows full well what it’s like to get helped into the locker room with a season-ending injury. And worse, if that’s possible, Boogie was in the midst of enjoying the ride to his first postseason trip in his eighth season in the league — all the while putting things together in an important contract year!
Just so damn cruel, man.
All this guy ever wanted was to prove that he could contribute to winning situation. He didn't care about perception or anybody's opinion of him. He wanted to win because that was at the core of his crazy. He was getting there. This ain't fair. pic.twitter.com/cIRuUxFsJV— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 27, 2018
Not surprisingly, a whole bunch of crap started spewing out across social media after the bad news was revealed. Some immediately pounced on Boogie’s misfortune by bringing back to life Anthony Davis trade rumors, while others happily tossed Cousins out like garbage for the next trash collection pick-up. And then there were those who decided to just go ahead and write off the whole team, claiming the New Orleans Pelicans season was officially over.
Do better, society.
There’s a time and a place for everything, but not minutes removed from a horrifyingly despicable outcome. Furthermore, while the Pelicans are down an irreplaceable figure, not all is lost. The majority of NBA followers had no postseason expectations for New Orleans, so I won’t even bother addressing you. However, for the smarter group, those playoff hopes aren’t dead and buried...yet.
Some guy named Anthony Davis is still lurking around and has always exhibited the potential to do more, but did you know once oft-maligned Jrue Holiday has put up insane numbers without Cousins on the floor thus far this season? (The data below are per 36 minutes statistics.)
|Anthony Davis w/Cousins||1093||25.1||9.0||1.7||1.0||1.9||16.1||58.0%||1.6||34.7%|
|Anthony Davis w/o Cousins||431||29.3||13.7||4.3||1.5||2.6||20.7||50.0%||2.3||33.3%|
|Jrue Holiday w/ Cousins||1404||15.6||3.9||4.9||1.4||0.6||12.9||47.8%||4.2||31.5%|
|Jrue Holiday w/o Cousins||371||28.1||5.5||5.4||1.5||0.8||20.3||54.1%||7.3||37.3%|
I hope you can clearly see two legitimate All-Stars are still able and willing. As for the rest of the roster, Darius Miller averages nearly 15 points a game per 36 minutes without Boogie; E’Twaun Moore a little higher at 15.4 points per game. After that, however, the needle movers vanish.
Dante Cunningham, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson and Ian Clark are big question marks. They’ve been consistently inconsistent throughout the season. Beyond them, it’s even scarier among the deeper corners of the bench. Hopefully, Omer Asik can provide something in the 10-15 minutes range behind Davis, but Cheick Diallo isn’t ready and DeAndre Liggins second 10-day contract is fast approaching a conclusion.
The depth issues are real but perhaps partially solvable. Both Solomon Hill and Tony Allen returning would be extremely helpful to the cause, yet the best hope probably lies within the trade market. General Manager Dell Demps needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Again. Back in 2014-15, he landed Quincy Pondexter and Norris Cole — two key rotation players — for peanuts.
This group of New Orleans Pelicans was never destined to make it to the NBA Finals, but is it that inconceivable they can still make a little noise? There’s still opportunities to improve the roster while relying on some very good rotation pieces, who, by the way, remain standing and ready to fight.
It was never about this season but building towards something greater further down the road. Don’t be that guy who jumps off the bandwagon because of that major bump encountered in the arduous travels across an 82-game schedule. The players aren’t going to quit so neither should you.
Who knows, maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised come April, too?