DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans are heading into the 2017-18 NBA season looking to make a run at the playoffs. After being acquired by the Pelicans in the middle of last season, Cousins and Anthony Davis were able to build some chemistry together throughout the remainder of the year. Now, after a full offseason of work together, they are prepared to take on the rest of the league.
New Orleans isn’t expected to be a serious contender in the West this season. Golden State, Houston, and Oklahoma City are currently projected to be the three teams competing to represent the conference in the NBA Finals.
Last season with the Pelicans, Cousins ended up playing in 17 games. He averaged 24.4 points per game to go along with 12.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Cousins shot 45.2 percent from the field overall and knocked down 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, there are quite a few areas that the Pelicans need Cousins to improve in. They think they can stay in contention this season, but there are still some question marks surrounding them. If they want to make a run at earning a playoff spot, Cousins will be a major key.
All of that being said, what goals should be set for Cousins’ 2017-18 season?
Continue Shooting 35 Percent from Three-Point Range
Cousins showcased a new ability to shoot the three-ball last season and knocked down 95 of them. He shot 35.6 percent from behind the arc last season and needs to keep that up this year. With both Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday in New Orleans, Cousins should get more open looks from long distance.
Improve on the Defensive End
New Orleans should be happy with their rim protection with Anthony Davis, but their defense could get much better. Cousins has never been known for his defense, although he did average over a block per game last year. If he can take his defense to the next level, the Pelicans will be very difficult to score on inside.
Become a Better Leader on the Court
There is no denying the talent that Cousins has, but he has had an issue with his leadership and attitude in the past. Davis will be the face of the Pelicans this season and will be their main leader, but Cousins is an All-Star as well and needs to improve in that area. Becoming a better teammate with a better attitude is a goal that Cousins needs to reach to achieve.
Average at Least Five Assists Per Game
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Cousins’ game is his passing ability. He has averaged three assists per game throughout his career and should work to raise that number this season. Averaging around five assists per game would be huge for the Pelicans, especially with a lot of those assists likely to come from working well with Davis in the paint.
What kind of season are you expecting from DeMarcus Cousins in 2017-18? Are there any other goals that you would add to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Doug Parker/AP Images]