Once again, it seems a team is better off without DeMarcus Cousins.
During game 2 of the first round against the Clippers, Cousins went down with a season-ending quad tear. At the time, most saw it as bad news for the Warriors, who have always been rather weak in the frontcourt before Cousins' arrival.
But since his injury, the Warriors have fared well, almost better, and it has become apparent now that they really do not need DeMarcus -- they never did.
It is this reason why Cousins should not return this offseason, despite his latest injury. According to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler, it may be better for Cousins to “boogie on down the road.”
But for Cousins and the Warriors, it’s time to move on, separately. Warm bro-hugs all around, because he will be remembered warmly by the coaches and players.
Short-term and long-term, the Warriors play better without Cousins. Games against the Clippers are not an accurate gauge, because the Clippers are overmatched in this series, but did you watch Game 3 on Thursday?
That’s not to say that Cousins’ absence was the miracle tonic. But while the Warriors had some good moments and games with Cousins at center, it was never a match made in heaven.
It was an awkward fit, and it wasn’t likely to get better. In the first two games against the Clippers, the jarring image was Cousins holding the ball behind the 3-point arc, unguarded, the Clippers begging him to shoot, the offense grinding to a halt.
Nobody knows what the market will look like this summer. A max-contract is almost completely out of the window now, but there will be some interest. Perhaps the Celtics could pair Cousins with Al Horford, or the Blazers, who would bolster their frontcourt with Cousins alongside Nurkic.
Either way, a return to the Warriors does not appear likely. The whole reason he went there was to prove his value, and the team playing better in his absence only proves the exact opposite.
It will be interesting to see how Cousins responds to his latest injury, and what teams will be willing to take a chance on him this July.