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Is DeMarcus Cousins Really a Good Fit for the Warriors?

Should Golden State have pursued a wing in free agency instead of signing DeMarcus Cousins?

DeMarcus Cousins signing a one-year, $5.3 million deal to go to the Warriors shocked many around the basketball world Monday, but is Boogie even a good fit for the NBA champions? On the latest Open Floor podcast, Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp discuss if the Warriors should have pursued a wing instead of signing Cousins, how Boogie will fit in their system and the concerns Golden State should have going into the season. 

(Listen to the latest Open Floor Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

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Andrew Sharp: So I have a question here from Linda, who says, “I’m a longtime listener since late 2017 and this is my first time emailing in. I just need to know if this is a hot take. Boogie will not improve the Warriors and the signing actually hurts Golden State. Did anyone leave those playoffs thinking that what the Warriors need is to add another center? The opportunity cost to using the mid-level exception on Boogie is that they won’t be using it to add wing depth. With Iggy another year older, that’s where their focus should have been. I just think there are more downsides than upsides with this move.” What do you think, Ben?

Ben Golliver: Well first off, thank you, Linda. Fantastic question, fantastic logic. I like where you’re coming from but I don’t agree exactly. I don’t think it’s a hot take first of all. I think it’s perfectly reasonable opinion to have.

Sharp: I think a lot of smart basketball people, that was their first thought. Like, wait a second, didn’t—well actually no, the first thought was definitely like what the hell is happening. Oh my god they really signed Boogie. But like four or five notches down the list of reactions was ‘huh, maybe they should have signed a wing. I’m not sure how much sense this makes.’ But continue.

Golliver: I was just gonna say, no one came out of those playoffs thinking, “oh they totally need to add another center” because they have six of them and they were all stiffs or young guys, right? Like when you watch Zaza Pachulia play, of course, you want them to go small, right? Like Boogie Cousins is not Zaza Pachulia. He has a ton of red flags. I’m not the world’s biggest fan. I mean every single thing that you worry about, whether it’s personality, injury, team play, conditioning. It’s kind of funny, you bring up his weight about 10 pounds every podcast and I appreciate you doing that.

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Sharp: (laughs)


Golliver: Those are all very real concerns, right? But if you’re Golden State, you’re just perfectly positioned to handle all of it. Like you don’t need to rush him back, you can basically just cut his minutes if he’s not playing the “right way,” you don’t have to play him in crunch time situations. I think they’re still going to go small and so you love to kind of clown Kevin Durant as a role player, I think Boogie Cousins will actually, because of the injury especially, wind up being a “role player” for them.

There have been situations where they could use a guy who could just go out and get a bucket as a counter. Like if you’re playing switch-happy defenses, you could just throw the ball to Boogie Cousins on a guy who’s 6’ 6”, forget about it. And he lives on the free throw line, he pounds defenses, he’s going to, in some circumstances, prevent the stagnation that developed when Kevin Durant was doing a little too much during the postseason. I’ve got concerns on how well he’s going to be able to keep up, especially after the injury. But, again, is it worst then stepping out on screens against guys like Zaza falling all over people and injuring half of the Golden State roster? No, he’s not.

In terms of the wing depth issue, I totally hear you and if they had the choice, Andrew, between Boogie Cousins and Trevor Ariza, I think they would have taken Trevor Ariza, right? But Ariza went for $15 million on a one-year deal and a lot of the other guards, that was sort of the popular approach. It’s like, lets get as many dollars as we can on a short-term contract. Teams didn’t want to commit long-term this summer. So like Tyreke Evans kind of cashes out this summer in Indiana.

So for that reason, some of the wings they would have wanted were out of their price range. So if you go, we can add an “All-Star caliber player” once he’s healthy during the postseason when he’s motivated during a contract year and then we can worry about the wing depth issues with the minimum salary slots down the line, I think you’re just fine there. But it was the hole. And it was the only hole they had during the playoffs was the one she identified with the wing depth.

But I’m not really that concerned about Iguodala aging. He looked fine when they needed him, right? The health issues in the Western Conference finals was concerning but they got more than enough when they got him on the court with their best five to sweep through the Finals. I just don’t think it’s not something they should be caring too much about.