Is there something we have forgotten? Some precious thing we have lost, wandering in strange lands? -Arna Bontemps
Boogie Cousins, one of the best players in the NBA, is done for the season.
And, the Heavens wept.
Before we proceed, I think it would be helpful to compare Boogie’s injury to Gordon Hayward’s at the beginning of the season. Hayward’s injury occurred moments after the season began, while Boogie’s happened near the All Star break (he was traded during the break last season, to a better team with a much brighter future, so DMC’s relationship with All Star weekend is a technicolor dream/nightmare coat). However, Boogie is undeniably better than Gordon Hayward, and his loss has a larger impact on his team, the Pelicans, and the NBA (AND, A CERTAIN SOMEONE’S FANTASY BASKETBALL TEAM). We didn’t know that Boston’s young players would perform so well in Hayward’s absence, but they have, and Boston will enter the postseason with a top 4 seed, most likely. There is a distinct possibility that the Pelicans miss the playoffs without Boogie. Hayward had also already signed a big, multi-year contract prior to his injury; Boogie will enter his unrestricted free agency this summer on crutches. Boogie was going for a max contract; he’ll be lucky if he gets half that now. His injury does not have a good history of player recovery, his free agency is occurring at a difficult time in the NBA in relation to salary cap management, the league is undergoing a seachange towards wings and away from bigs, and the team he plays for, the Pelicans, are unsure of their forward trajectory unless Anthony Davis proclaims his allegiance to New Orleans despite their difficulties. If the Pelicans crater and miss the playoffs, the odds of a Brow trade increase, which means the odds of Nawlins signing Boogie to a big deal decrease.
All of this is to say that while Hayward’s injury was gruesome looking, and shocking in its early timing, Boogie’s injury is worse, has happened with worse timing, and significantly affects the future of the NBA. I have no idea what happens next.
From the Mount of the Skull, I cry for thee!
As of Boogie’s injury, he was:
- Top 10 in points per game
- Top 5 in free throw attempts
- Top 5 in rebounds
- Top 25 in assists
- Top 20 in steals
- Top 10 in blocks
- Top 15 in non-guards for 3PM, Top 40 overall
- The 3rd best player in my fantasy league; the 4th best player in ESPN basic
I’ve heard, seen, and read some advice for how to replace Boogie’s production in fantasy. Get real. Ain’t happenin’. He’s literally a top 5 fantasy player, he’s literally absolutely awesome, and you’re literally FINISHED in fantasy if he’s your bedrock player (and, really, how could he not be?). Unless you have a supremely deep team, you’re not going to be able to reproduce Boogie’s stats. Honestly, I don’t even think you can get close. You can try to get lucky and jump on backups who might become starters due to trades, but who’s going to trade you elite players for a guy who may not play for 18 months, and may not even be the same even when he does return? I mean, if someone offers you Kawhi for Boogie, then, YES, DO THAT, DO IT RIGHT NOW, STOP READING AND ACCEPT IT! I just don’t think that someone’s going to make that trade offer. The offers I’ve received in my league for Boogie have all been, how you say, suboptimal. No hate, I’d try to pick at the carcass, too, were I not the proud owner of DMC. But, odds are that you’re not going to get a Boogie-shaped player for that Boogie-sized hole in your lineup.
I guess, Dejounte Murray is out there. He’s the starting point guard for the Spurs, now that Tony Parker has been demoted. Murray gets you boards, and will grow into the points and assists. He has absolutely no outside shot, but that will come in time, too. He’s owned in less than 50% of leagues, so if you can add him, do it.
Josh Richardson is still under-owned at 51%, ditto Michael Beasley, Wesley Matthews, SloMo Kyle Anderson, and Courtly Courtney Lee.
Wayne Ellington gets you 3PM; JaMychal Green was scoring and rebounding well before his injury, but he’s meant to be back soon; Milos Teodosic continues to improve with every game, and he can reproduce Boogie’s assists, at least (he’s only 15% owned, so I’d scoop him ASAP, if he’s avails in your league).
But, no one is going to be able to replace Boogie. It’s like replacing LeBron, or Curry, or Harden, or Big KAT. You might as well try to move a mountain, or grab hold of a shadow.
Boogie is one of the best players in the NBA, without question. He and AD were vectoring towards a playoff appearance, and a style of play that would possibly contend with the best in all of basketball, Houston and Golden State. Who knows what would have happened in that world? Maybe the Pelicans make a trade and improve their team just enough to make it to the Western Conference Finals? Anything could happen then. This is a tragic, and intoxicating, What If for NBA history. I feel like the Warriors and the Rockets maybe breathed a sigh of relief, after offering their thoughts and prayers (injuries like Boogie’s scare the bejeezus out of other players because they’re severe, require plenty of rehab, and come out of nowhere; combine that with Boogie’s free agency, and every NBA’er felt a shiver of fear as There but for the grace of God go I went through their mind).
We are all poorer for Boogie’s (basketball) loss. Basketball’s just a game, but Boogie played it beautifully. Who knows what the Pelicans could have accomplished with him leading their team?
”It is finished!” Was it finished
When thy path of pain was trod?
Thou didst bear the sins of mortals,
Who shall bear the sins of God?
-John Todhunter, “Golgotha”
Who will bear them? We will, John. We will.
This is our Golgotha. Our darkest moment. A great (basketball) light has gone out. But, Boogie shall rise again. (May take longer than a coupla days, though, FYI.) Have faith in his return (and, his rehab).
And, if you’ve the spirit to lend a moment, light a candle and say a prayer for all the poor souls with Boogie on their fantasy teams. We, the damned, the pilgrims flung from St. Peter’s sight when but footsteps from Paradise, now Limbo-lost or bound for the Pit, can no longer offer, nor accept, nor waiver wire add nor drop. For, how can the dead play fantasy? Mourn us. We are ghosts.