Hensley: DeMarcus Cousins’ move perplexes NBA fans



The New Orleans Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins (0) leaps over the Orlando Magic's D.J. Augustin (14) and Bismack Biyombo (11) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on December 22, 2017. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)


The other day, I wrote that the Golden State Warriors needed to watch their back after LeBron James moved out West with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Well, throw it out the window. All of it.

This Warrior team isn’t losing the 2019 NBA Finals. Golden State essentially punched its championship ticket after it signed All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.

Now, there are plenty of question marks surrounding Cousins. While he did crank out a 25-point, 10.7-rebound, 5-assist stat line this past season, he missed the final 34 games of the regular season after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon (although initially aiming for a December recovery, Cousins said he’s “shooting” for a return by training camp), and it’s well-known that he has clashed with coaches and teammates.

But it’s DeMarcus Cousins we’re talking about.

When healthy, he’s the best center in the league. Cousins has a legitimate 3-point shot (35.4 percent last season), possesses the strength to outmuscle any center in the league, and he’s extremely athletic for a 6-7, 270-pound player.

The Warriors have never had a legitimate post threat ​— both offensively and defensively ​— during their three titles (in four seasons). Now they do, and he’s one of the best in the business.

I can confidently say that I believe Cousins will mesh with Golden State’s big four. When he’s at full strength, Cousins’ presence creates the best starting five the NBA has ever seen. Ever. Hands down.

What baffles me the most is that Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million deal. Per SB Nation, last season, 192 players made a greater salary than Cousin’s new deal.

SB Nation, along with many other sports outlets, argue that Cousin’s injury was the driving force in his limited market. But come on. A one-legged Cousins is worth at least double his current deal.

Granted, not every team in the league could sign Cousins, but playing with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green? That’s pretty intriguing.

But then you factor in the reports saying New Orleans offered him an extension of much greater value during the season, and then Cousins allegedly rejected that offer and (months later) took less to join the league’s best team.

Shame on you, DeMarcus Cousins. It’s going to be another Warriors title next June. There’s little to nothing teams like Houston (which took Golden State to seven games in the conference finals) can do at this point. It’s Golden State’s conference for the taking, whether the NBA wants to admit it or not.

And when it comes down to it, it’s not like the league can really enforce this. After all, Cousins signed for pennies on the dollar. For another team to catch up to Golden State, other free agents have to do the same.

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