Pelicans trade for Cousins has major impact on Wolves' playoff hopes

DeMarcus Cousins alongside Anthony Davis puts the Pelicans in the driver's seat for the 8th playoff spot.
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Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Need we say more?

The reported traded between New Orleans and Sacramento gives the Pelicans two of the, maybe the two best, big men in the NBA. Davis is a monster and Cousins is flat out scary. Together, they have a chance to form the best big man duo since Tim Duncan and David Robison in San Antonio. Together, they might crush the competition for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Denver Nuggets currently sit in the eighth spot. Five teams, including the Wolves, are within 3.5 games.

8. Denver Nuggets – 25-31
9. Sacramento Kings – 24-33
10. Portland Trail Blazers – 23-33
11. New Orleans Pelicans – 23-34
12. Dallas Mavericks – 22-34
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – 22-35

Sacramento is obviously bowing out of the race. Dallas shouldn't be a factor for long, and Portland, according to The Oregonian, is likely preparing for a late-season swoon.

That leaves Denver, New Orleans and Minnesota in a race for the 8-seed, with New Orleans all of a sudden a heavy favorite.

But there's so much more to consider if you're Wolves president/head coach Tom Thibodeau.

  • Will he trade Ricky Rubio before Thursday's deadline?
  • Can he get anything back of immediate impact for Rubio?
  • Does he see that 16 of the final 25 games are on the road?
  • Of the nine remaining home games, does he recognize how difficult five of them are?

Minnesota was a long shot to stay in the fight for the 8-seed before the Pelicans beefed up by adding Cousins. Now, for Thibodeau and the Wolves to keep pace, they probably have to win more road games in the final month and a half than they did in the first four months of the season (8-17 road record).

Anything is possible, but the Pelicans' acquisition of Cousins might be the nail in the Wolves' coffin.

Home games:

  • Dallas
  • Portland
  • L.A. Clippers
  • Golden State
  • Washington
  • San Antonio
  • Sacramento
  • L.A. Lakers
  • Oklahoma City

Road games:

  • Houston
  • Sacramento
  • Utah
  • San Antonio
  • Milwaukee
  • Boston
  • Miami
  • New Orleans
  • L.A. Lakers
  • Portland
  • Indiana
  • Golden State
  • Portland
  • Utah
  • L.A. Lakers
  • Houston

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