Demarcus Cousins may finally be returning to the Warriors’ lineup next Friday with hopes of gifting the team what they are truly missing, a dominant center. The Warriors have never had a center who can dominate from inside the paint to behind the arc. In exchanging their bench depth for Cousins, the Warriors have upgraded their starting lineup to an unparalleled level. Below we will examine how Cousins joining the team is both good and bad for the defending champs.
With the addition of Demarcus Cousins, the Warriors will see new heights in their offensive spacing since Cousins will demand attention in the paint creating better looks for Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. This past season the Warriors have not been able to generate the same looks for star players as they have in the past since Green is no longer the shooter he once was, clipping 3s at an abysmal 24% and Kevin Looney is not necessarily a threat within the paint. Although all of the Warriors’ starters will see less shot attempts, they will instead gain better looks leading to a better conversion rate from beyond the arc because players will be forced to stick to Cousins to prevent him from either shooting a three or forced to double team him in the post.
Cousins has always been inconsistent on the defensive side of the floor. HIs large size allows him to body other defenders down low and he can give the Warriors an actual center to use within their ‘death lineup.’ Instead of leaving the burden of the defense on Draymond’s shoulders, Cousins will be able to become a bigger presence in the paint forcing players to find perimeter shots where players like Klay Thompson excel in defending the perimeter.
There is always the possibility that Cousins will continue his ways of old and bring drama into the locker room with his antics on the court. Cousins is known to get emotional during games and this has been shown to affect locker room chemistry in teams like the Kings, but the Kings in Cousins’ defense were poorly managed and had placed too large of an expectation on Cousins’ shoulders frustrating the superstar. The Warriors have players with huge personalities like Kevin Durant and Draymond Green who ironically got into a dispute with one another during a heated moment earlier this season. Cousins is no exception and he may very well clash with Green or even Steve Kerr at any point this season.
An Achilles injury is by no means career-ending, but it does limit the mobility of players affected by it and diminish their overall ability. On the defensive end of the floor, Cousins is a BIG player compared to past Warriors’ centers, holding his own on the low block, but tends to fall apart on switches. An Achilles injury will only highlight this flaw and other teams will look to expose the Warriors through Cousins by forcing a switch. With an Achilles injury, Cousins may very well be a shell of his former self and his offensive effectiveness may take a hit. The Warriors rely on a fast-paced offense and with Cousins’ decreased tempo of play, the Warriors may suffer a setback in their offensive schemes.
Overall, the potential for the Warriors with the addition of Cousins is unprecedented and may bolster their offense and defense to new heights, but his recovery from his Achilles injury alongside interpersonal factors play a role into how well he will fit with the Warriors’ play style.