The Sacramento Kings are looking to make a run at the postseason. Could they reunite with DeMarcus Cousins?
In the midst of the most uncertain sports year in recent history, it appears one thing is certain — NBA basketball (and Sacramento Kings basketball) is coming back!
Recent reports have confirmed that the NBA season is on track to continue after play was stopped on March 11th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barring any unexpected setbacks, we will have pro-basketball again this year.
This is great news for sports fans in Northern California. Oddly enough, it is the Kings who have received an invitation to continue the season while the normally dynastic Golden State Warriors officially begin their offseason early.
This means the Kings will have a legitimate chance to compete for their first postseason berth since the 2005-2006 season. While they have a very difficult road ahead, there are several reasons to be optimistic.
The NBA restart also poses another interesting storyline — the status of free-agent center DeMarcus Cousins. The injury-riddled former All-Star was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers before having a chance to suit up with the team.
However, the delay has raised speculation that the star may be fully recovered from a torn ACL, and available to contribute to a team this postseason.
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Cousins’ extensive injury history makes a potential signing a gamble. But we also know that he is capable of dominating when healthy. The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are two teams that have been specifically linked to Cousins.
And both make sense. However, this Bay Area writer can’t help by wonder whether a reunion between Cousins and the Kings would be worth exploring. Let’s take a look!
The Sacramento Kings’ Risk
There is no question that adding a player like Cousins would be a gamble for any team. He is coming off an ACL tear that he suffered during workouts before the 2020 season.
He also suffered a torn quad in 2019 and a torn Achilles tendon in 2018. This type of rash of serious injuries would hamper anyone’s career arc.
The days of DeMarcus Cousins being selected to All-Star and All-NBA teams are likely in the past. There is also a serious risk of further injuries as he attempts to revamp his career. Cousins assuredly faces an uphill battle from this point forward.
This is particularly concerning when you consider his ability to defend opposing big men. As the NBA further embraces the concept of smaller, quicker, and more skilled lineups, teams will force Cousins to guard the perimeter any time he is on the court.
While most big men don’t stand much of a chance trying to stay in front of scoring masters like Stephen Curry or James Harden, Cousins’ ability to defend new-age centers such as P.J. Tucker, Bam Adebayo, and Draymond Green is a serious question mark.
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The Sacramento Kings’ Reward
The DeMarcus Cousins of old is likely gone. This leaves the all-important question on the table: just how good could the big man be at this stage in his career?
Let’s not forget that Cousins is a four-time All-Star with career averages of 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. He is also still only 29-years-old.
Even a diluted version of this caliber player could be valuable. It’s also worth noting that Cousins was never the type of player to rely on overwhelming athleticism.
While he did have good lateral movement in his prime, Cousins feasted more as a bully in the paint or an outside marksman than an above the rim finisher. A large portion of his offensive skill set could remain intact.
He likely still has the brute strength and footwork to score proficiently as a post player. Additionally, the former Kentucky star added a three-point shot to his arsenal during the 2015-2016 season. When he is able to regain his conditioning, this ability will likely translate well.
Cousins could also be a veteran presence to help steady a young and unproven Kings roster as they attempt to make an improbably postseason run.
As an added bonus, he also has an intimate knowledge of the Lakers that could prove valuable if the Kings were able to capture the eighth seed.
While Cousins was never able to lead Sacramento to any sustainable success during his prime with the team, he still holds a special place in the hearts of Kings fans.
There are many fond memories of the former star in purple and white. The nostalgia alone could be enough to warrant a return to Sactown.
While Cousins does have a history of tension with reporters, he has also publicly expressed interest in returning to the Kings. He has even gone as far as stating he hopes his jersey will reside in the Golden 1 Center rafters.
A return may be enough to make that happen.
There are certainly teams that would give the former star a better chance to win his first NBA Championship. However, I can’t think of a better place for Cousins to reestablish his value than in the place where it all began.
Let’s bring back Boogie to Sacramento in 2020 and beyond!