DeMarcus Cousins is one of the best talents the NBA has. He is a dynamic and mobile big man, who has been apart of the NBA’s big-man evolution. Cousins came into the league as a typical old-school big man. Down in the paint, away from the three-point arc. Lately, though, DeMarcus Cousins has been heavily affected by injuries.
DeMarcus Cousins Injuries – Never Say Die
How Injuries aer Ruining a Great Career
DeMarcus Cousins has an incredible all-around game. He can rebound, he can score on the low block, he’s a capable passer, and he can shoot the three-ball. He is the type of player who finds himself attached to a contract with well past seven digits typically. Branching even into nine-digit territory with a skillset like his. At this point in time though, Cousins finds himself sitting on a one-year, $3.5 million contract. That contract is off of the back of a one-year, $5.3 million contract.
How did this happen?
Long Live the Sacramento Kings
Cousins has found himself hampered by injuries in the last few years of his career. The irony of Cousins’ career is that he managed to remain free of any serious injuries while playing for the team he was drafted by, the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings were never able to adequately provide Cousins with a supporting cast worthy of his talents. This meant that one of the premier big men in the league was always on the outside looking in of the NBA playoff picture. Cousins consistently was able to put up big numbers for the lowly franchise alongside some less than superstar names.
His most notable teammates during his Sacramento tenure are a former Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas, and some productive years from Rudy Gay. Cousins found himself consistently in the lower tiers of the NBA, part of a team that took six seasons of his career to surpass 30 wins in a single season. By sheer luck or a cruel twist of fate, Cousins managed to give only his best for the team, avoiding any significant injury-riddled seasons (suspensions notwithstanding). DeMarcus Cousins and injuries were not something that went together while he was apart of the Sacramento Kings. Things were about to change though.
Cousins’ first real injury would come as a part of the New Orleans Pelicans and would set off a chain of events that could very well end up changing the outcome of DeMarcus Cousins’s career.
The New Orleans Pelicans Stint Started the Injury Bug
Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in mid-February, after the All-Star festivities of the 2016-17 NBA Season. The trade found him paired with the All-Star game MVP, Anthony Davis. Davis was another generational big-man talent but had a much harder time staying on the court throughout his career. Being an oft-injured big-man, Davis seemed to have rubbed off on Cousins in the worst way possible.
Cousins suffered his first-ever season-ending injury in late January 2018, in the dying seconds of a contest against the Houston Rockets. Going up for a rebound on his own missed free-throw, Cousins came down on his leg and ruptured his Achilles. This was Cousins’s first full season with the Pelicans. The injury certainly didn’t dissuade the Pelicans from offering Cousins a contract extension. The Pelicans still offered Cousins a two-year, $40 million contract extension. Cousins turned down this contract and backed himself. This move would see to lose Cousins a heap of money over the next two seasons.
The best situation Cousins had found himself in. The Pelicans were on track to make the playoffs that season and in turn, give Cousins his first taste of postseason basketball. The injury to Cousins derailed any chance of that happening. Cousins must have really longed for postseason basketball, as the team he would next sign for, would seemingly shake up the NBA Landscape.
Golden State Warriors Stint Continued the Injury Trend
The Golden State Warriors knew what they were getting into when they signed DeMarcus Cousins. They knew that they were getting a big-man coming off of a serious leg injury. They knew that he may not be at his full potential for the whole season, or will only play minimally throughout the season. Golden State didn’t need Cousins to be at 100 percent. Any semblance of DeMarcus Cousins even remotely close to his full capability would have been a massive win for the already stacked Warriors team. And at one-year, $5.3 million, it was an absolute steal.
Cousins knew what he was getting into when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were a team with enough firepower that Cousins could take ample time to recover and have faith in his team taking him to the playoffs for the first time in his career. Cousins was using this year to repair his body, play himself to a big contract and finally appear in the playoffs. That is exactly how the season went, for the most part.
He rested, only playing 30 games during the season, and his team did make the playoffs. Cousins did play, but not to a big contract. Cousins suffered a left quadriceps tear in the second game of his first-ever playoff series. He was able to return six weeks later to play all six games of the finals series against the Toronto Raptors, but it was obvious he wasn’t 100%.
The Los Angeles Lakers Stint, Over Before it Started
The Los Angeles Lakers received possibly the worst version of DeMarcus Cousins. Signing Cousins to a one-year, $3.5 million contract should have been the steal of the offseason. Pairing Cousins with the already deadly duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis would have left the Lakers as one of the best looking teams going into this season.
As fate would have it, Cousins wasn’t destined to see this season it seems. Cousins suffered a torn ACL before the season got underway.
DeMarcus Cousins Appears to be Damaged Goods
Good situations just don’t suit DeMarcus Cousins. Every time he finds himself in a good situation, the cruel hands of fate seem to rip it away from him. Cousins was injury-free in Sacramento when they had nothing going on. Injured in New Orleans when there was the chance of something good. In Golden State, he suffered a major injury in the middle of something good. And finally, as a part of the Los Angeles Lakers, he gets injured when he has the chance at something great. At this point, DeMarcus Cousins may never be able to get back to his absolute best form, but for all intents and purposes, we can only hope he is able to fully recover and contribute to the success of a team.
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