Last summer, when Demarcus Cousins signed a deal with the Golden State Warriors, everyone thought the outcome of the season was inevitable: Golden State would win their fourth title in five years. They were adding another dominant All-Star to a team that was already coming off of a dominant sweep in the NBA Finals, and no team seemed to have an answer against the stacked Warriors.
Unfortunately, a series of postseason injuries for Cousins, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson crippled the super team, who eventually fell to the Toronto Raptors in the Finals. After the team’s disappointing postseason, the team was tasked with the difficult task of trying to keep Cousins, Durant, and Thompson, all of whom were free agents this summer.
While the team was able to keep the homegrown Thompson, Durant opted to head across the country to join Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. After Durant’s departure, Cousins also opted to look for a new home, eventually signing a one year, $3.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
After Cousins move to the Warriors last season, his move to the Lakers shouldn’t come as a surprise to most fans. After spending the first six seasons in Sacramento on a Kings team that never made the playoffs, Cousins has made it clear that he now values the opportunity to win more than a lucrative contract.
With the Lakers, Cousins definitely has the opportunity to win. By signing with the team, he joins forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, two of the best players in the NBA. While it may be the first time Cousins teams up with James, he is already well acquainted with sharing the floor with Davis, as the two played together in New Orleans two seasons ago.
The two had chemistry on and off the court, and Davis has talked about his excitement to reunite with his former teammate.
“We realized how much better we made one another and how much we made the game easier for one another. I think we both appreciate each other’s presence,” Davis said after Cousins signed with the Lakers.
While James, Davis, and Cousins are superstars in their own right, all three have proven that they can adapt their games to play with other All-Stars on the court. Without much support in New Orleans, Cousins and Davis often shared the floor, leading the Pelicans to a second-round playoff appearance after sweeping a talented Trail Blazers team.
If Cousins returns to his pre-injury form, he and Davis could form a modern day “Twin Towers.” The two big men are towering figures in their paint, and their defensive presence will scare anyone who thinks about driving into the lane. In addition, both are proven offensive weapons capable of taking over a game if James falters.
Former Warriors center Damian Jones, who played with Cousins last season, emphasized that Cousins is still a game-changer. “He’s a dynamic player. One of the best players in the league,” Jones said.
While Cousins has proven himself as an elite NBA player, his recent injuries are a real cause for concern. After playing in at least 50 games for the first seven years of his NBA career, Cousins has failed to stay on the court over the past two seasons, being sidelined for injury after injury.
After recovering from a torn Achilles, Cousins seemed poised to help the Warriors down the stretch after sitting out for almost an entire calendar year. While he showed flashes of potential, his return was short lived as he suffered a torn quadriceps in the first round of the playoffs. No matter how good he can be when he’s healthy, Cousins needs to prove that he can stay on the court without being sidelined again.
Outsiders may have doubts about Cousins durability, but he believes that he is ready to return to his All-Star form. “My plan is to come into training camp in tip-top shape. My goal is to play 82 games this season. I want a full season of health and going to the playoffs, and whatever happens, happens,” Cousins remarked in a recent interview.
Everything looks a little familiar for Cousins. Just like last offseason, he is coming off of a serious injury. Just like last year, he is joining a team that has title aspirations for the upcoming year. Now, Cousins will focus on a different outcome but the same injury circumstance haunts him. DeMarcus Cousins has a lot to prove.