After the All-Star game concluded, many NBA fans felt like this was one of the most uneventful, boring All-Star Weekends in the league’s history. Not even two hours later, however, the NBA world shook like an earthquake.
Many fans throughout Sunday’s game were wondering why Demarcus Cousins only played two minutes. Some reports said he asked to be rested during the game, but many felt that there might be something going on behind the scenes that the public was unaware of.
Looking back on the events of last night, we now realize that this was most likely the moment that Cousins found out that he was traded to the Pelicans. With a smile on his face, he utters, “I love it here in New Orleans.”
— Manny Vieites (@manny_vieites) February 20, 2017
We have yet to see how Cousins and fellow All-Star Anthony Davis fit together on one roster, but they could create the best frontcourt pairing since Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The Kings, on the other hand, are in a hole that could potentially take years to dig themselves out of. That’s where the 76ers come in.
Back in 2015, former GM Sam Hinkie traded two European players that the 76ers had the rights to to the Kings in exchange for Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a 2019 first round pick, and the right to swap draft picks in 2017. The most notable pieces in the deal were Nik Stauskas and the draft picks/swaps.
The 76ers have been winning more games than anyone expected them to win this year, especially without Ben Simmons. Many fans, as crazy as this sounds, were getting worried that the team was going to play themselves out of a high draft pick in a year that has some of the best guard prospects in recent memory. This was especially worrisome because the 76ers’ biggest need is at the guard positions.
Following this trade between the Pelicans and Kings, the 76ers are in a fantastic position to elevate their draft odds while still competing hard on the court. The Kings roster, as it is built right now, is one of the least talented rosters in the league. It is difficult to see how the Kings would be able to scrap together more than a few more wins throughout the rest of the season.
The Kings will most likely be a bottom five team with a very good chance to get a top three pick thanks to the way the draft lottery is set up. If the 76ers do not get a top three pick, but the Kings do, the 76ers have the ability to swap the picks and move into the top three. This would secure one of the elite guards in the draft for the 76ers to add to already elite talents Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The luck does not end there for the 76ers either. If the Kings get the 76ers a top three pick, then one of the other teams at the bottom of the standings would get bumped out. Right now, the third worst team in the league is the Lakers, who owe the 76ers their first round pick if it is outside of the top three. If the Kings sneak into the top three and the Lakers are the unlucky team to get knocked out, then the 76ers would have a top three pick and the fourth pick in one of the most loaded drafts to date.
Sure, the Pelicans seem like clear winners on paper following the trade, but realistically they will not beat the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs if they win enough games to get the eight seed. The 76ers have been building for the future for years, and it is finally paying off in a huge way.