DeMarcus Cousins: "Just to put this out there, my favorite [Warrior] by far is Klay."
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 19, 2018
There is no debate about whether the addition of DeMarcus Cousins was the biggest move of the offseason. Coming in a close second place is the signing that officially made LeBron James a Los Angeles Laker.
The first reactions to this move were questioning if Los Angeles could construct a roster to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. As we stand today, the Los Angeles Lakers have not formed their own version of a super-team, yet. But was it logical to question if the Warriors should make improvements of their own? The 2018-19 NBA season could potentially be Golden State’s fifth consecutive finals trip.
Reason Number 1: We Have Seen This Before
In February 2017, DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans. The move paired Cousins with Anthony Davis, arguably the best big in basketball. With Cousins, another all-NBA level front court player, maybe their style could challenge the Warriors who have been plugging-and-playing different centers since Steve Kerr arrived. Year one, the Pelicans did not have the chemistry to get far enough to face the Warriors. Year two, the Cousins injury deprived everyone involved of this matchup. If it didn’t happen last year, then when?
New Orleans made a trade last season to acquire Nikola Mirotic and played at a higher level than expected in the playoffs. Considering DeMarcus Cousins is coming off a major injury and would command a serious cap hit, New Orleans opted for Julius Randle. Then, the market decided the worth of Cousins, who would sign a one-year deal for $5 million. Will Boogie return to all-star form coming off an Achilles injury? That question is the elephant in the room and still needs to be answered.
Reason Number 2: Will Everyone Get Their Shots?
If you have followed the game long enough you hear the phrase “there is only one basketball.” This alludes to the point that sacrifice must happen to maximize five players playing at an All-Star level sharing one floor.
In July, being the fifth option doesn’t sound too bad but how will that feel come April? Star level players have egos and rightfully so. To be the team that could drastically improve as a Finals favorite, Steve Kerr and his staff will have to feature Boogie Cousins at times. Playing an equal opportunity offense is great when the players involved are Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. When some starters are resting, having Cousins on the floor as the centerpiece of the offense will be tempting. How will this change the second unit? Undoubtedly creating whole new ways to combat what they do well.
Reason Number 3: How Long Will It Last?
When the DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Golden State Warriors story broke, fans of other teams had strong reactions. A team that once was applauded for creating a champion with homegrown players such as Steph, Klay and, Draymond. After Kevin Durant joined a finals favorite, the Warriors became an NBA powerhouse like one we have never seen before. After sweeping the NBA finals in 2018, the Warriors add arguably one of the best centers in basketball in a year when Golden State did not have the salary cap space to add premier talent. Another phrase you hear in not only basketball but any field is “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Small ball became what it is today in large part because of the lineup, void of a true big man the Warriors have employed the last four years. Will the Warriors now be susceptible to that style themselves?
These Warriors are the closest thing we have had to a true dynasty since the Chicago Bulls in the 90s. That team won six championships within eight years. This Golden State Warriors team is great too and it remains to be seen if they will fall off anytime soon. The Boston Celtics have now opened their championship window and reaching the NBA finals should not be enough. Defeating the Golden State Warriors should be a major focus as well. If the Warriors win the Finals and DeMarcus Cousins looks great, odds are that he could receive a large contract elsewhere. Before we crown Golden State champions for the next ten seasons, lets see it first.