The Golden State Warriors have been on top of the basketball world for the last few years and Monday night was another demonstration of that. Bob Myers and company sparked some premature 4th of July fireworks in the Bay Area with the signing of DeMarcus Cousins.
He signed a one-year deal worth $5.3 million, the taxpayer mid-level exception.
Arguably the most talented big man in the league, Cousins gives Golden State talent at the big man position they haven’t seen since the late Nate Thurmond.
The Warriors have seen greats at the guard position such as Tim Hardaway, Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
They have seen talented forwards like Chris Mullin, David Lee, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
However, it’s been decades since they’ve had a center who’s had the resume Cousins has.
Andris Biedrins never panned out. Jermaine O’Neal joined the team in the back-end of his career. Andrew Bogut never lived up to his pre-draft hype when he was selected number 1 by the Milwaukee Bucks, then later dealt to the Warriors. Zaza Pachulia has given the Warriors a good voice in the locker room, but lost his starting job this past season. JaVale McGee was good in moments, but was never the long-term answer.
It’s no guarantee Cousins will play at the level he once did. He tore his Achilles in January. It’s considered one of the toughest injuries to recover from in all of sports. And it doesn’t help that Boogie is a 6’11, 270-pound player. It will be unfair to expect him to get to where he once was. Regardless, he will be the most dominant big man the Warriors have had in decades.
Cousins will be 28-years-old by the time the NBA season starts, which is when an athlete is usually in their prime. He’ll also be in a no pressure situation. Playing alongside Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green will ease him in whenever he is ready to go. Early reports suggest he will be back on the court anywhere from December to February.
Jordan Bell will likely start at center for the Warriors until Cousins is good to go. Even then, I can see Steve Kerr bringing him off the bench until he can play more than 20 minutes a night. With the Warriors, there will be no rush. Cousins can go when the training staff thinks he’s ready. Patience will be a virtue for Cousins, as he will need tons of it.
Despite this being a one-year rental, it benefits both parties. Cousins’ value will rise and he will get closer to the big pay-day he originally imagined. The Warriors get an All-Star center and create the most dynamic starting lineup in NBA history.
Cousins is prone to technical fouls, as is Green and Durant. And at times, so is Kerr. But the team will be fine. They can be emotional on the court, but it hasn’t put them in any real danger in the last two years.
The rest of the league can complain, but the Warriors drafted their core set of all-stars. They put themselves in the right position to sign Durant. And when no other team was aggressive to sign Cousins, the four-time all-star was confident the Bay Area would be the ideal spot for him to bring up his value.
If you thought the Warriors were entertaining the last four years, this upcoming season will be on a whole new level.
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