Demarcus Cousins will make his season debut tonight as Golden State will feature five All-Stars in their primes.
The NBA is getting a boost tonight as one of its premier players returns to action.
After rupturing his left Achilles tendon in late January of 2018, Boogie Cousins signed a one-year $5.3 million deal with the Golden State Warriors on July 6. The multi-faceted, perennial walking double-double machine had other offers but he envisioned a low pressure environment where he could take his time rehabbing and also seek championship glory.
It worked for Kevin Durant, why not Cousins, who was often criticized for his inability to win big with Anthony Davis is New Orleans. There’s no guarantee that Cousins will be back in Golden State next season. He’s entering free agency and will have his choice of teams if he can show that he is healthy during the last 37 games of the regular season. But more importantly, the playoffs.
When the deal was initially made, the NBA world threw collective fits, claiming the Warriors were already stacked and adding the three-time All-Star is just straight cheating the system.
It’s like Cardi B becoming the fourth member of Migos. Or finding out the Clermont Twins have another set of sisters…and they’re twins too ! If NAS joined Roc-A-Fella records roster in its prime, you’d have the 2019 Golden State Warriors.
You get my drift. Just unfair.
Such grumblings had died down with the Warriors struggling to maintain control of first place in the West and showing signs of vulnerability.
Now that another ball dominant All-Star is trying to fit in with Golden State’s wealth of talent, Steve Kerr has the unenviable task of fitting Cousins’ unique skill set into the crowded mix.
“It won’t be simple,” Kerr told ESPN of working Cousins into the lineup. “Because he’s a dominant player. It’s a lot easier to fit in a standstill 3-point shooter. A guy who’s going to space the floor and not handle the ball a whole lot. He’s used to having the ball in his hands an awful lot. But on this team we got a lot of guys who have the ball in their hands, so it will take some time for sure.”
Achilles injuries are one of the most difficult to recover from. Cousins isn’t going to play 30 minutes out of the shoot. Kerr will probably ease him into the flow and see if his Achilles can endure the stress of live game action. Besides, Golden State plays at an accelerated pace with less half-court sets than Cousins had with the Sacramento Kings and the Pelicans. He has to adjust to that as well.
There will be an adjustment period for everyone, while Cousins figures out where he fits on this Super Team.
While he takes time to figure it out, Kevin Durant has let it be known that Cousins’ touches will be limited and he is at most a fourth option on offense. Cousins’ usage rate has never been below 27.2 percent, and he led the NBA at 35.4 percent in 2015-16, but that will surely change.
“He’s still going to be effective when he has the ball in his hands, but not as much,” Durant told reporters. “Just like it is for Steph [Curry], myself, Klay [Thompson]. We’re still who we are, but instead of 20 opportunities a game, it might be 13 or 14. So that’s how it’s going to be with [Cousins]. Some of those plays that he might have shot last year, or posted up, he might have to kick out and play our offense. Play around each other, play off of each other a little bit more. That’s what the adjustment is coming into this team.”
Cousins will get his shots, especially with Draymond Green mired in a year-long slump and lacking confidence in his outside shot.
Green’s 7.2 points per game are his lowest since his second year in the league when he was a bench warmer. As the main vein of Golden State’s overwhelming small-ball attack, Green has to shoot better than the 27.0 percent he’s currently producing. It’s his lowest percentage since his rookie season.
If Cousins focuses on doing the dirty work – grabbing boards, helping his boy Draymond mix it up with the opposition and getting his buckets within the natural flow of the offense — he could be the final piece to ensuring a Golden State three-peat.
I can’t remember a team in NBA history sporting a starting five of All-Stars in the primes of their careers. If Boogie Cousins comes back at full strength, then this Warriors team would be the greatest Super Team ever.
With all due respect to the other gamers in the NBA, there’s just no way to compete with that.