The New Orleans Pelicans, thanks to superstar center and MVP candidate Anthony Davis, are fourth in the Western Conference standings and in a good position to return to the NBA playoffs.

What’s┬ámost surprising about the Pelicans’ recent nine-game win streak is it has happened without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his left Achilles in January and needed season-ending surgery.

Despite the team’s success without Cousins, the Pelicans’ top offseason priority should be re-signing him, and Davis is “pretty confident” New Orleans will be successful, per the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Cousins is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and even if he leaves, the Pelicans wouldn’t have enough salary cap space to adequately replace him. The Pelicans gave up 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield and a 2017 first rounder that turned into the No. 10 overall pick as part of a package to acquire Cousins via trade from the Sacramento Kings last season.

The Pelicans cannot afford to lose Cousins for nothing. They need to re-sign him, and Davis’ latest comments on the situation are encouraging for New Orleans basketball fans.

Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports