Just when the basketball world is abuzz about LeBron James signing with the Lakers and all its implications, the Warriors sneaks in the following day (yesterday) and drops a bomb by announcing they’ve signed DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal at the taxpayer’s exception.
The same DeMarcus Cousins who before a torn achilles back in January was an All-Star top-10 level player that perennially averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds. He’ll be joining a team that just wrapped up a third championship in four years. The one position found lacking on the Warriors is the center spot and now they’ve finally acquired their long-coveted dynamic scoring big-man.
A team with four All-Stars in the starting lineup just added a fifth (when healthy). LeBron’s move to the Los Angeles is but a blip in a radar.
I highly appreciate the Cousins move from a psychological perspective. When a team have won consecutive championships, complacency can easily set in. Human nature craves newness and fresh challenges, and the Cousins signing provides just that for the defending champs. The goal of winning it all remains the same but the novelty of fitting and succeeding with Cousins should invigorate the team and prevent the coasting mentality that occurred often this past season.
The rest of the league - the competition - is psychologically deflated. The Golden State dynasty was already supremely formidable with Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, and Iguodala on the squad but now they’ve added Cousins? That just might be the mental coup de grace. Players on other teams are tweeting out despair and “why bother”; analysts are facetiously calling for the season to be cancelled. Once again, advantage to the Warriors.
Signing Cousins is a shrewd move that I and many NBA fans did not see coming; the particular circumstances came together perfectly and unexpectedly. indeed there’s an argument against it on the basis of competitive balance, but I think the onus is on the other teams to catch up (Lakers have got to get Kawhi Leonard after this, right?) - even with the recent success the Warriors aren’t going to stand still.
As well they shouldn’t.