• Michael Austin

DeMarcus Cousins Joins the Lakers


NBA.com

What’s the deal?

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Demarcus Cousins to a one year, $3.5 million contract. With increasingly limited options in free agency, both sides were compelled to make a deal after the Clipper’s signing of Kawhi Leonard.

Many consider this contract to be a low-risk high-reward scenario. Just like last year at Golden State, Cousins will be playing to prove he is still worthy of a big contract.

While this may very well be the case, there are some disadvantages to having the veteran center on the team. He may not cost much, but this depleted Lakers roster is depending on him to perform, and he may not be a great fit.

What does DeMarcus Cousins bring to the Lakers?

A starter on the All-Star team just a few short years ago, Cousins could be bringing some elite scoring from down low. His three point shot is streaky at best, but the former All-Star will most likely be putting a lot of work into his shot this offseason. The Lakers need shooters. If Cousins’ shot is falling next season that will help this squad out greatly.

Unfortunately one thing Cousins does not bring is defense. Other than Anthony Davis, this team is severely lacking on the defensive end. During the Warriors recent playoff run, many teams made it their focus to isolate Cousins in the high pick and roll, capitalizing on his slow lateral movement. He wasn’t the most athletic player even before his injury. After it he has become a big defensive liability.

How would you grade this contract?

This contract gets a B. While it may seem like a low-risk high-reward scenario, this move does have a lot of bust potential. Boogie may have been a great teammate last year, but this year is different. Last year he figured he’d get healthy, play through the playoffs, win a championship and finish by signing a six-figure deal. That didn’t happen. If anything, last season made teams even more wary of how injury prone he is. It’s looking more and more likely that he will never get the chance to sign a big contract ever again. Without as much to play for, we may see more locker room problems coming from Cousins.

In addition to that, his former superstar status may make the coaching staff feel compelled to start him. A potential starting lineup with Lebron, Danny Green, Kuzma, Davis and Cousins is not good enough to win. Defensively they would be alright, but there isn’t near enough shooting. Having both Davis and Cousins would clog the paint. In the modern era of the athletic stretch bigs, Davis needs to be starting at the five.

Final thoughts

Cousins might be a great piece for this Lakers team. In order for that to happen, he needs to understand his role. For the Lakers to be successful, Cousins needs to get comfortable coming off of the bench. If he fully buys in, this just might work out.

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