DeMarcus Cousins was having a monster season — averaging 25.4 points and 12.9 assists per game, leading the Pelicans to a playoff position and earning himself a spot as an All-Star Game starter.
Which is why this is such a big blow.
Trying to make a play on his own missed free throw in the final seconds of the Pelicans’ upset against the Rockets, Cousins went down with what has now been reported as a torn left Achilles, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This means he needs surgery and is done for the season, obviously, and could miss the start of the next one depending upon recovery.
The team has not officially confirmed the news, but they all but knew it after the game, based on reactions.
This just sucks, Cousins — already arguably the best big man in the game — was having the best season of his career. He and Anthony Davis had the Pelicans at 27-21 as New Orleans went big when the rest of the league is trending small. Gentry was right, the Pelicans have been playing better of late having gone 8-2 in their last 10, with a top-10 offense and defense in that stretch.
Now a number of questions are raised.
What does this do to Cousin’s free agency this summer?
What does it do to the Pelicans, who had looked like a playoff lock but are just three games from falling out of the playoffs completely? Will they make a move to bring in more talent and hold on to that playoff slot?
Who will replace Cousins in the All-Star game? (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gets to make that call, and he will make it from the West. Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the highest rated Western Conference frontcourt player not in the game, both by fan vote and when the player and media votes are tallied as well.)