Power Rankings

Power Rankings: DeMarcus Cousins trade shakes things up before deadline

Power Rankings: Cousins trades shakes things up

Before he had left New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins was traded there. And suddenly, the best Sunday story about two All-Stars reconnecting on Sunday had nothing to do with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The Sacramento Kings finally put an end to the Boogie Era and the New Orleans Pelicans put together a frontline of two All-Stars — one big, one bouncy — that are just 26 (Cousins) and 23 years old (Anthony Davis). The deal, which will send Buddy Hield and pieces (including the Pelicans’ 2017 first-round pick) to Sacramento for Cousins and Omri Casspi, has yet to be finalized. But when it is, it will shake things up quite a bit, and maybe elicit more trades between now and Thursday’s deadline.

Contenders can always use one more guy. Second-tier playoff teams may feel like now is the time to join the contenders. Teams with young players may need to clear a logjam and all 30 teams are always planning for the future.

It always takes at least two to tango, but now is the time when teams shed their inhibitions in order to strike a deal. Stay tuned, because there could be a lot more to come.

Last week: Warriors’ offense keeps rolling as trade season heats up

This time last year: Deadline doesn’t alter the landscape — Channing Frye was the deadline acquisition who would eventually play the biggest role in the postseason. The Pistons got Tobias Harris from the Magic, but rescinded their deal for Donatas Motiejunas. The Nets hired Sean Marks, the Bucks moved Giannis Antetokounmpo to point guard, Damian Lillard dropped 51 on the Warriors and Anthony Davis went for 59 and 20 in Detroit.

Plus-minus stud: Otto Porter (WAS) was a plus-58 in two games last week.

Plus-minus dud: Myles Turner (IND) was a minus-51 in three games last week.

Hero team of the week: Washington (2-0) — The Wizards didn’t lose any momentum going into the break, picking up wins – by a total of 35 points – over Oklahoma City and Indiana.

Zero team of the week: L.A. Lakers (0-2) — The Lakers lost in the final seconds to the Kings and then drilled in Phoenix.

East vs. West: The West is 184-152 (.548) against the East in interconference games after the East went 6-5 last week.

Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Sacramento, 2. Portland, 3. Phoenix

Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Washington, 2. Indiana, 3. Utah

Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

High jumps of the week: New Orleans (+4), LA Clippers (+3), Milwaukee (+3)

Free falls of the week: Charlotte (-3), L.A. Lakers (-3), Four teams (-2)

Team to watch this week: New Orleans — The Pelicans have a new center and some big games this week, hosting the Rockets on Thursday before they have a road back-to-back in Dallas and Oklahoma City on Saturday and Sunday.

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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)

OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)

DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)

NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league has averaged 98.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.0 points scored per 100 possessions this season.

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NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

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