Denver Nuggets: Why They Must Keep DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins has not had the career he had in mind. It seems like yesterday when we were calling him the definitive best center in the NBA. Fast forward many teams and some injuries later and Cousins is now having to play a much different role at this point in his career. Gone are the days when he was putting up monster triple-doubles and giving opposing head coaches headaches for game planning slowing him down in the paint. However, just because he has had to adapt to a new role does not mean he does not have any value anymore. Right now, the stats may not show it, but he has provided the Denver Nuggets with the spark they needed to get hot as they head into the All-Star Break.
Denver Nuggets: Why DeMarcus Cousins is Vital to Their Team Success
What DeMarcus Cousins Brings to the Table
Is Cousins going to average 30 points per game? No. Is he going to start alongside Nikola Jokic and form a feared frontcourt as he did with Anthony Davis in New Orleans? Probably not. Cousins is also not going to be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year. That is perfectly fine. What he does provide is some much-needed attitude and toughness outside of Nikola Jokic the Nuggets were searching for all year long. Especially with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter out, Denver is going to need all the help they can get in order to compete with the best of the Western Conference.
Not to mention, Cousins adds some much-needed depth. Having a backup center to give Jokic a valuable rest is huge. DeMarcus Cousins is going to come with some baggage and technical fouls, but for Denver, that is also okay. Remember, there was only one head coach that Boogie got along with during his tenure with the Sacramento Kings. You guessed it, it was current Nuggets head coach, Michael Malone. If anyone can keep the four-time All-Star reigned in, it will be him.
Denver Before DeMarcus Cousins
Before Boogie got to Denver, there were a couple of glaring weaknesses with the Denver Nuggets. For one, their bench unit left something to be desired. Outside of Bol Bol, who has since been traded, the Nuggets really did not have a true backup center for Nikola Jokic. Oftentimes, Malone was forced to use small-ball lineups that would quickly give up leads due to their lack of size and continuity, especially against teams with true paint presence such as Utah, Minnesota, and Dallas. It was also evident that the team was easy to “out physical,” which would also lead to the starting unit having to dig the team out of big holes.
Then came DeMarcus Cousins. A true enforcer and “bully,” the Nuggets have actually needed for years now. Cousins on the year is averaging only 8.1 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game. But, his impact is felt beyond the box score. Coach Malone no longer needs to worry about his bench getting bullied. Especially when you consider Cousins is certainly no stranger to getting his hands dirty and is a willing rim protector. Also, bear in mind the team is 8-0 when he is active.
Denver Going Forward
If the Nuggets keep Cousins and continue on this hot streak post-All-Star Break, they will be a tough out for anyone in the playoffs. Jamal Murray is going to do everything in his power to come back giving Jokic his co-star back. Couple that with the grit and grind DeMarcus Cousins leads the second unit with, and the Denver Nuggets are suddenly back in championship contention. Cousins may have a checkered past with NBA officials. However, for someone who has had to adapt their role despite being a superstar once upon a time, his impact has been nothing but positive for the Denver Nuggets.
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