If Danny Ainge had signed DeMarcus Cousins to the mid-level exception which is what a torn Achilles big man is worth these days, Ainge would have been called a genius and way ahead of the curve. Ainge would have been complimented, applauded, envied and more adored as a team builder than he already is, if that is even possible. But it was the Warriors who inked Cousins to a deal after Cousins made the call to them. But typically, the Warriors are being accused of ruining the integrity, character and competitiveness of the NBA. As if Cousins has dominated in the playoffs, been a playoff MVP, is a top-5 player, didn’t get thrown out of Sacramento because of his abusive behavior towards the media and his own organization who enabled him to the bad behavior he routinely got away with and then at the midnight hour balked at paying him $200 million.
Cousins has never played one playoff second. He has never led a team to anything. He has never shown the ability to be a player who could accept a role. He suffered the worst injury a big man can suffer and it won’t take nine months for him to return to form but more like 18 months, if he ever returns. It has never happened in the NBA post-Achilles where a player is the exact same player you remember. An Achilles tear ruins you. It rips your basketball soul.
But let’s get all into our feelings that the Warriors have made it impossible for NBA basketball to go on. Here’s the real: they never would have signed Cousins if the Lakers hadn’t stolen JaVale McGhee, probably baiting him with the promise of starter minutes.
Cousins is a gamble for the Warriors that has a better chance of not working than working just because of the nature of his injury. On top of his iffy health, Boogie is not an easy customer. He is emotional, immature, quick to lose sight of the moment, not concerned about consequences as he goes off the deep end, passionate when he needs to be logical and rarely accountable. Cousins is also desperate to win, get in the playoffs, be on a winning team, is a fantastic talent. But he has never been on a NBA team where he wasn’t the first or second option and with the Warriors he is perhaps the fourth option.
Of course, there is a method to DeMarcus Warriors madness. The Warriors are a one stop. They can’t pay him the $20+ million he craves or thinks he deserves, even if he is a medical miracle. He’s not worth it- not because of his talent which is prodigious- but because they don’t need Cousins to be DeMarcus Cousins. The Warriors want Cousins to be JaVale McGhee plus some offense. He will never earn what he yearns to be paid, not taking 8 shots a game. On Boogie’s side of things, this is about him getting paid in 2019, maybe by the Clippers, maybe by the Knicks.
The misplaced hysteria is as if Boogie isn’t even in the room. He is irrelevant to the sum of the parts. It’s the Warriors. Everything the Warriors do is funneled through this prism of jealousy because they had the nerve to be a dynasty when no one was looking and when everyone passed on the players they acquired.
The Warriors did it the right way. They drafted Steph and underpaid him on his restricted deal. They drafted Klay who GM’s and scouts were so-so about. They traded Monta Ellis. They acquired Iggy and Shaun Livingston. They hired Steve Kerr. They drafted Draymond Green in the second round when most of the league didn’t want him. It was the real life version of The Process.
It took six years from the time the Warriors drafted Step to make it to the NBA Finals and there were a lot of hazy moments and gut wrenching backwards steps before they held that trophy. They lost in the first round (a 7 game slug fest vs the Clippers) in 2014 and won a title in 2015. They didn’t panic. They stuck with their plan. They played the hand they had been dealt. They dug in and at the same time made compromises.
Half of the NBA is made up of bad decision makers with zero patience and little fortitude to spend a dime beyond what they have to. Why would the genius Sam Presti chose Serge Ibaka over James Harden? Ibaka has been on two teams since the Thunder eventually traded him like they traded Harden who by the way is a MVP. The Cavs traded Kyrie Irving who had two years left on his contract for no reason anyone can logically argue and not look like a fool. It was stupid and LeBron James set a fire to the organization because of it. The 76ers, enamored with a LeBron James hunt, let Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova get away when those two were responsible for their ascendancy and then the 76ers cut J.J. Redick’s salary in half.
But something is wrong with a broken Boogie going to the Warriors. Everyone else could have had Boogie. No one called. The Warriors rolled the dice. It may work out and Boogie may have a title. Or, his Warrior year will be soon forgotten.
Something is very wrong with the brain surgeons complaining about the Warriors. They are jealous because they have not been lucky. They have missed on the draft. They have missed in free agency. They have missed on a coach and team building. They can’t figure the Warriors out. But greatness doesn’t have to apologize.
Mediocrity does. Cry about that.