Yesterday, I wrote about the Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers and how the two legendary NBA franchises are trying to reclaim their past glory in the Age of Splash.
Yet the addition of DeMarcus Cousins potentially pushes the Golden State Warriors into another stratosphere, a level that I believe is out L.A’s reach for the 2018-19 NBA season. So let’s just forget about Los Angeles for now — they are probably another max contract away from being more than an annoying nuisance right now, despite what most Laker fans would tell you.
Boston, on the other hand, may just have the cohesion, stability, and complementary weapons, to make a real run at us right now, if healthy.
But, what defensive scheme can Boston conjure up to guard five athletic USA basketball players at the same time? Cousins, the healing giant, demands a double team in the paint. The Warriors’ shooters will fan out around the perimeter, giving space, ready to punish any defender who helps off. Cousins, a special passer, gets to choose which open All-Star to swing the ball to. Or just score himself.
If healthy, of course.
As we saw with the Achilles injury to Lakers hero Kobe Bryant, that’s a tough injury to come back from for any athlete. Yet, if Dubs vs Celtics is the 2019 NBA Finals matchup, I’m feeling comfortable assuming Boogie Cousins is healthy enough to dominate with this team for a week or so in June.
How has Boogie performed against Boston?
I checked out Boogie Cousins’ stats against Dr. Stevens’ defensive schemes in the past. In eight games (from 2014-2018), he has averaged 22.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 5 turnovers. He shot 42% from the field, 33% from downtown, on 18 shots per game. He also averaged seven free throws attempted per game.
As most of those games were with the putrid Sacramento Kings franchise with no one to help carry the load, I’m throwing most of that data out of the window, honestly.
Everyone’s efficiency seems to shoot up when they join the Warriors, and I’m sure this Olympian’s numbers will be the same. Hella All-Stars = easier buckets.
Check out this clip of pre-injury Cousins with the New Orleans Pelicans slicing up Boston from the wing and high post last season. It was his first season on a postseason bound team, being coached by our former assistant coach and offensive guru, Alvin Gentry. Notice the poise, vision, and touch by the big fella.
Boogie Cousins is too smooth.
And of course, Cousins will have to guard someone too...but I’m sure the mad-scientist Warriors’ Defensive Coordinator Ron Adams can figure out how to get the most out of him on that end. At worst, the game turns into a wild shoot out, and I don’t think Boston wants a shoot out with the greatest shooting team of all time.
The Celtics do have the tools to challenge the Warriors — as described yesterday, defensively they are as disciplined as it gets and offensively they’ve got the weapons to spread Golden State out. But it just seems that adding Cousins to the Warriors’ existing roster is just a bit too much for the Celtics to handle.
Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see how this matchup plays out next June.