Bill Reiter: This Makes Pelicans Top Four Or Five Team In West

The Sacramento Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and traded their lone All-Star, DeMarcus Cousins, to New Orleans for an underwhelming haul of players.

Kings fans? Yeah, not happy.

“I think the reaction from fans is first shock and then anger,” CBS Sports columnist Bill Reiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Boogie is really talented and I get why you might move on and everybody gets a fresh start, but the fact that the Kings did not get the haul in return – or the proper haul in return they probably should have – I think the reaction in Sacramento is frustration (and anger).”

Cousins, who averaged 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game this season for Sacramento, is one of the best players in basketball. But he comes with baggage.

“Boogie, just talent, should be a top three or four player in the league,” Reiter said. “(But) as a distraction and a headache and a technical-foul machine and a guy that doesn’t live up to his talent, he’s also a top two or three on that particular list. If Boogie shows up in New Orleans and suddenly you get all the good stuff and the bad stuff is kept out of sight, then we’re going to know Sacramento really brought it out in him. But I love his talent. We’re going to see if the bad stuff comes along with him to New Orleans.”

Either way, Reiter is excited to see Cousins play with Anthony Davis, who is averaging 27.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this season.

“I’m really, really excited if I’m a New Orleans fan,” Reiter said. “He’s going to play center, AD is going to play the 4 like he always wanted, their two or three other centers who are basically bums are going to get shipped out, and Jrue Holiday is going to look like a much, much better point guard than he used to. There’s some work to do. They had to give some pieces away and New Orleans is not loaded with talent outside of Anthony Davis, but if you’ve got Boogie at the 5 and you’ve got AD at the 4, you have the most talented big-man combo since Tim Duncan and David Robinson.”

The Pelicans (24-33) trail the Nuggets (25-31) by 2.5 games for the final playoff spot in the West.

“This immediately makes New Orleans a top four or top five team in the West,” Reiter said. “I think after a pretty short learning curve, they’re going to be really good and really interesting. You’re going to be able to bring in some role players who are going to want to play with those guys going forward. I think in the short term you’ve got the best big man combo in the game with Cousins at center, and I think going forward you’ve got the most impressive young corps in the NBA. I think it’s a very exciting time for Pelicans fans. . . . These are two of the best 10 players in the NBA. Whoever is here, they’re going to be lifted up by these two dudes.”

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