More than five weeks have passed since DeMarcus Cousins suffered an injury that abruptly ended his season, and when that injury occurred, the New Orleans Pelicans looked to be in deep trouble. New Orleans did amass a 27-21 record before the ailment, putting the team in strong playoff position, but in the absence of Cousins, there wasn’t much in the way of optimism surrounding the Pelicans and a potential run to the postseason.
Since then, though, the team is 10-5, and at the moment, New Orleans owns an active eight-game winning streak that has thrust the team into the national consciousness. In some ways, the Pelicans probably haven’t been quite as good as that 10-5 record would indicate, as evidenced by a modest plus-0.8 net rating. However, that jumps to plus-7.4 over the past eight games, and as you may expect, Davis’ individual brilliance has been key to the rising tide.
Davis is averaging 32.6 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game since Cousins’ injury, and during the team’s winning streak, that jumps to an absurd 37.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. Quite clearly, those are video game-worthy numbers from one of the best players in the NBA, but for all the doubt concerning a lack of top-end talent on this particular roster, it simply hasn’t mattered given the work that Davis has done.
Of course, this is only a (very) small sample by which to judge the Pelicans, and in short, it does feel like a team that is playing over its collective head. Still, New Orleans now owns the fourth-best winning percentage in the Western Conference, and just a short time ago, that seemed almost unthinkable.
Where do the Pelicans land when compared to the rest of the NBA this week? Well, let’s find out in our latest Dime Power Rankings.