Warriors Signing Cousins Is Low-Risk, High Reward

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The NBA offseason always comes through with headlines to get fans excited about the upcoming season. How about the defending champions in the Bay Area? The hunted remains hungry, inching closer towards becoming the next dynasty.

Golden State Warriors Ink DeMarcus Cousins

Of course, this is a fantastic move for the team in regards to winning another title. This is also fantastic for an all-star player that hasn’t won very much, as this does separate him from the likes of Carmelo Anthony in my eyes, who just opted into a $28 million deal. Melo continues to show that he simply plays for the money, despite how awkward his situation has become in Oklahoma City. It is what it is, different people have different motives for doing what they do, but the decision by Cousins does show me that he’s not like the Thunder forward that might be shown the door anyway.

DeMarcus Cousins signed with Golden State for around $5 million, while other teams like the Pelicans and Lakers elected not to offer him a deal at all. This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you have watched Boogie’s demeanor over the course of his career, and if you haven’t forgotten that he’s recovering from an Achilles injury. Nor should the fact that there are teams out there that simply didn’t want to bring his personality on-board.

On paper, the Warriors now have six players that have been named to an all-star team: Former M.V.P.’s in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, a Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala (who has now adapted to a key role coming off the bench), and now Cousins. If they intend to start Cousins when he returns from injury, that would give them 5 active all-stars in the starting lineup. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Iggy is their 6th man with his injury history and limited minutes, but he does play a key role as an extra ball-handler and wing defender. And, if you root against the Warriors, Iggy has shown a knack for being that nuissance to pile things on with a corner three or a dunk (because he’s the one that teams will leave open as they have to pick their poison).

Back to the new acquisition and Boogie, who now enters a strong locker room with strong leadership, unlike his previous stops in Sacramento and New Orleans. No offense to Anthony Davis, who continues to skyrocket as a player and a leader in this league that I love just as much as anyone else, it’s just that the Warriors are on a different level than the rest of the league. Boogie will inject some more fun into the roster as the “3rd Splash Brother,” as if they weren’t already having enough fun hoisting titles up to this point.

A lower body injury to a big man is usually alarming, this being no different, but do keep in mind that we are talking about an inside-out player that can get you 25 points and 13 rebounds per game. This guy can create off the dribble a little bit, very well for a big, and he can distribute a handful of assists. For the first time in years, Boogie will get consistent 1-on-1 opportunities. He adds a low-post presence, an element that the team has not had despite their championship success. Whether he starts, comes off the pine, or plays limited minutes, the 1-year deal makes this low-risk and high-reward to defend the hardware.

As for the rest of the league, fans and media included, they have every reason to throw their hands up in the air. Especially, since a major market team like the Los Angeles Lakers just landed one of the G.O.A.T.’s in LeBron James. Signing Cousins to play with four current all-stars on a multi-championship team is probably the only way to top a King James to L.A. signing, at least when it comes to offseason story-lines. Although the Lakers have returned to the “Lake Show,” the interstate rival is rich and just got richer, possibly. For those stating how the commissioner should veto this signing, you have to remember that the NBA managed the Hornets when they nixed the Lakers’ deal for Chris Paul, so this is an entirely different situation here.

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My Take

I think Boogie will slide right in to help the Dubs dominate in the postseason. That’s when they want and need him the most. Dare I said need? When you look at the contributions of recent bigs such as Zaza Pachulia, David West, Jordan Bell, Javale McGee and Festus Ezeli, they don’t really need Cousins to play all-star caliber basketball. In a way, he slid into McGee’s vacated spot which makes this move low-risk. It won’t be the end of the world if in fact, he does not return as the same athlete.

If you break down the different ways for Cousins to score like he’s done in the past, he really can continue to hover around 20 points per game if he’s efficient within the offense. Say he hits 2 open threes (34% in his career), 2 mid-range shots (perhaps off of pick & pops), 2 post-up baskets, 2 open dunks/lay-ups that the offense usually generates per player it seems like, and at least a pair of free throws (73% in his career). That’s 20 points right there.

I would absolutely feed him in the high post at times and run the offense through him to attack defenses in a way that they haven’t before. The offense has so many off-ball screens, cutting, and flaring out, that a capable passer like he is (around 5 assists per game) can consistently drop dimes. He may not be the ideal rim protector (1.5 blocks per game), but his ability to play down low makes his comeback attempt easier than it would for a guard (like the retired Kobe Bryant with the same injury).