DeMarcus Cousins joining the Golden State Warriors is downright unfair at first look, but closer inspection suggests that it is a smart decision and makes a lot of sense.
While LeBron James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers was a bit surprising, Cousins’ decision to join Golden State was an even more shocking NBA news and was met with a chorus of disapproval from fans and players alike—well, except for diehard fans and players of the Bay Area team.
The former Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans big man is a four-time NBA All-Star, and as if the Warriors need another superstar, they managed to lure Cousins for the cheap midlevel exception worth $5.3 million (again, unfair!).
However, Cousins has every right to decide where he wants to play; and while his choice raised calls to review the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA, its franchises and players, it can’t be denied the 27-year-old Alabama native actually put himself in the best position for next year when he is set to become an unrestricted free agent once again.
More time, less pressure to recover
It’s easy to judge the Warriors for “ruining” the NBA with the Cousins signing. After all, there’s no need for the reigning NBA Champions to add another All-Star to their “Death Lineup” that already boasts Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Nevertheless, it’s difficult to blame them given that they are only one of few teams—or perhaps the only team—that can be patient with Cousins who, if you have forgotten, ruptured an Achilles tendon last January.
At Golden State, there’s no pressure for Cousins to rush his recovery from an injury of such gravity. The Warriors’ don’t need to install the centre into their lineup right away, giving him more time to focus on regaining his fitness.
Sure enough, it is a gamble for the Warriors. Recovering from a torn Achilles is a difficult process and more often than not, athletes who suffered from the said injury never returned to their old, explosive selves.
However, for a paltry one-year-deal at $5.3 million, it’s certainly worth the risk. As Cousins said recently, the Warriors’ potential is scary; and indeed, if he returns to at least borderline All-Star form, the Dubs will be unstoppable.
“The potential is scary. That’s obvious,” Cousins said. “Of course that’s going to take a lot of hard work. A lot of hard work and dedication and obviously a lot of sacrifice from not only myself, but other guys on the team as well. I think that’s something we all are aware of and that’s something we accepted already. That’s why these guys wanted me to be a part of this team.”
Changing the narrative of the “Boogie” man
Although Cousins is known as an emotional player with poor work ethics, it’s worth noting that he has never been with a winning team.
In Sacramento, Cousins was bigger than the Kings. In New Orleans, he had a share of the spotlight with Anthony Davis. But now that he’s with Golden State, he will need to learn to work with a team and adjust to Steve Kerr’s system.
There’s no better place for Cousins to change the ugly reputation that has long haunted him than with the Golden State Warriors. Even JaVale McGee, oft-ridiculed for his basketball IQ, was able to transform his narrative with the Dubs!
He can prove with the Warriors he’s not just about gaudy stat lines; that he can also make sacrifices to win; and that he has what it takes to make a difference and not just whine.
“I don’t have to be the guy every night. I’ve always wanted a team where everything doesn’t rely on me and now I’m in that position,” Cousins furthered.
Of course, the ring!
Well, this is a big reason, isn’t it?
Perhaps, Cousins could have chosen to sign with the Boston Celtics and move to the Eastern Conference. That way, he could have had written a better story and legend for himself: an injured All-Star big man joining the Celtics and helping them reach the Finals—or even win the title.
Nonetheless, if winning a ring is the priority, there’s really no better choice than the Warriors. Just look at the latest NBA betting odds at us.
…or ask Kevin Durant about that.
Put simply, Cousins can take all the time he wants to recover, become a better player and learn the Warriors’ system, get paid millions of dollars and ultimately win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Also, if Cousins recovers well and recaptures his form, he could be off to a big payday in the summer next year!
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