I want to preference this entire blog by first stating this: Initially I was in shock also.
On July 2nd, 2018 NBA superstar big-man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins imploded the NBA by taking his talents to The Bay Area, signing a one-year 5.3 million dollar deal with the back to back champions the Golden State Warriors.
To say I was shocked initially is actually a bit of an understatement, I was absolutely perplexed, I was angry. I was 50 different types of emotions all at once, how was this possible?
This already stacked Warriors team had officially ascended into video game territory, their roster literally resembling what could have easily been the line-up for the Western All-Star team this past season. DeMarcus Cousins, coming off a 25-12-5 season was joining the Warriors, how was this possible?
Then I started to think…how was this possible? I sat down and applied rational thought, “How did we get here?” I wondered.
It was then that I began to understand, and with understanding came the realization, that this Warriors team could actually end up being a huge mess and not the 2k inspired dream team it appears to be at face value, so lets talk about it.
First of all, lets address the elephant in the room, yes Cousins was having an outstanding year last season, but unless you live under a rock we all know what happened in the waining minutes of a victory over the Houston Rockets on January 26th, 2018, for all of you who were living under the aforementioned rock: Cousins tore his achilles.
Not only does history show that next to a torn ACL, this is literally the worst injury for a basketball player to have, add in the fact that Boogie is not a small guy by any means and we could really be looking at a different player next year. Seven players never returned to play an NBA game, whereas 11 players returned to play 1 season, with 8 of those players returning for ≥2 seasons. Players who returned missed an average of 55 games. This injury has completely devastated and derailed careers a-la Lophonso Ellis and Brandon Jennings, even a 34 year old Kobe Bryant was still averaging 27 points before he tore his Achilles, outside of the rare Dominique Wilkins case, success stories following this injury are hard to come by.
So the point here I’m making is basically: Boogie might not comeback the same guy, in that case Boogies 5.3 million dollar price tag seems more appropriate, but also Boogie playing at about 35% of his past self doesn’t really make the Warriors any more formidable than they already are. But let’s say Boogie does come back 100%, then what? 82-0 right? They’ll surely run the table in the post season right? Our worst nightmares realized?
Well actually, maybe not. Boogie coming back at 100% seems pretty great for Golden State and scary for everyone else at face value, but theres nuance to this scenario, and we all know people love to ignore Nuance. Even though Boogie averaged an impressive 5.4 assists this past season, he also averaged 5 turnovers. A lot of his assists came out of the post to open 3-point shooters and on fast breaks, not relatively high-IQ basketball plays, how will Boogie fair in Golden States “hot potato” offense when a lot of his game (and turnovers) are him basically holding the ball to long and doing to much? That is a huge, legitimate question, how does Boogie fit?
Boogies fit on the court is obviously imperative to this super DUPER teams success, but something not talked about as much is his fit in the locker room. Warriors players have come out and said that this year was emotionally and chemistry wise rough for them, had it not been for Steve Kerr’s leadership, this team could’ve definitely fell apart due to locker room troubles, The Warriors are mentally exhausted and they’ve basically come out and confirmed that themselves.
Enter: Demarcus Cousins, NBA’s resident bad boy, with a fiery personality and the technical fouls to show for it, you could spend all day listing the on-court displays of Boogies flagrant behavior issues, at one point setting the record for being being the fastest to reach the NBA’s season long 16 technical foul limit. But Boogies behavior in practices and in the locker room is well documented, from him not wanting to run and walking out of practice because of it, to Anthony Davis reportedly saying he “preferred the locker room environment without him [Demarcus]”, Boogies track record is unfortunately negative as far as behavior goes.
So as you can see, at surface level this appears to be a waste of NBA season with Boogie joining the Warriors, looked at more closely though this season could end up being a rocky ride for the Warriors due to Boogies presence and even potentially end up a disaster.