5 NBA Players with Something to Prove During the Upcoming Season

DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State Warriors
Derick E. Hingle-USA Today Sports

4. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Golden State Warriors

This point might be met with some confusion. DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year, mid-level exception deal with the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. This may seem like a very low-risk move for Cousins, even more so for the Warriors. Boogie can rest on the bench for as long as he needs to and return for the playoffs. This will essentially guarantee Golden State a three-peat. However, DeMarcus Cousins has a lot of questions that he needs to answer that will be vital to his future.

DeMarcus Cousins has never played in the playoffs and has always been a nasty locker room presence. This could be attributed to the poor coaching and teams that he’s been on but there are no more excuses now. Cousins plays on a team with one of the best systems in the NBA under a top head coach in the league. He also shared his locker room with another boisterous personality in Draymond Green. Staying out of trouble will be a key for his financial future.

Cousins was in the middle of a dominant season with the Pelicans when he tore his Achilles. He was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game. Unfortunately, players don’t typically return from Achilles injuries anywhere near the same. The only star player who has ever returned strong from an Achilles injury was Dominique Wilkins.

As a free agent in 2019, Cousins will surely be looking for more than a mid-level contract from some team. If he wants to make the money that he believes he should, he has to prove to the NBA that he is still a high-level player and not just fifth fiddle on the Warriors.

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