DeMarcus Cousins is now on the New Orleans Pelicans and this could cause a shake up in the playoff standings. Currently the Denver Nuggets have the 8th seed, but many teams are waiting to swoop in. The Timberwolves, the Mavericks, the Trailblazers, the Pelicans, and what’s left of the Kings are all within 3.5 games of the 8th seed. The Nuggets are no slacker, and have proven to be more than able with Jokic in the starting lineup. However, the Pelicans could give them a run for their money.
The Pelicans new big three featuring Jrue Holiday and the “big birds” (Anthony Davis and Cousins) could, on paper, battle with the best of them. However, the Nuggets are currently on a tear and looking like a well oiled machine. The Pelicans have only had about three days with their new line up. However, if they are able to get their groove going immediately and start winning immediately things will get interesting towards the end of the season. The Nuggets and Pelicans face each other three times towards the end of the regular season.
If the Pelicans are able to make it into the 8th seed, the Warriors are going to have a tough first round. Ultimately it will not change the outcome of the series; the Warriors will still be the overwhelming favorites. However, the Warriors will have a more tough and bruising series that may hurt them deeper into the playoffs. As we’ve seen before, and saw last year in the playoffs, teams can get injured and winded from playing long physical series. Regardless, whatever happens with playoff standings, the battle for the 8th seed will be worth watching.