It’s alive: the Boogie Cousins experiment

The NBA is two games into their Winter Solstice and there has already been flurries, patches of ice and a few chunks of hail that have already broken loose. What’s even more frightening is we are still months away from an avalanche in May.

In his first two games as a Warrior, DeMarcus Cousins has already shown why this team just became much more harder to beat. In his debut against the Clippers, Cousins line was 14 points/3 rebounds/6 assists. Despite struggling to score against the Lakers, Cousins chipped in with 5 assists, 9 rebounds and was a +24 in 21 minutes.

As the season progress, Cousins’ scoring will obviously increase. However, what’s amazing is how seamlessly Cousins is fitting into the Warriors’ schemes.

Fatal 5 Lineup Numbers

The “Fatal 5” lineup of Curry, Klay, KD, Draymond and Cousins has played 18 minutes through two games, and it has put up some crazy production. Looking at the luck-adjusted lineup data for the five, they have a 131.0 offensive rating and a dominant 72.3 defensive rating. Even accounting for variance with luck-adjusted data, it is still a small sample. They probably will not continue putting up a +58.7 net rating. But if there were any lineup that could pull it off, would it not be the first lineup featuring five all-stars in decades?

The Playmaking

It may take a while for Cousins to settle in a consistent offensive rhythm as scoring is concerned. But Cousins has shown that his decision making and instincts are still sharp. Granted, Cousins only has 8 assists so far, but it’s all about how he’s getting them. Against the Clippers, two of his three assists came from the left block, where he will generally operate from.

The first assist was to Curry as he took advantage of Avery Bradley’s overplay in the lane. Curry cut to the basket, and Cousins hit him with a bounce pass mid stride for the easy layup.

The second was a cross-counter. On that play, Cousins commanded a triple team, consequently tilting the floor to the Warriors’ advantage. He found a wide open Andre Iguodala for three.

Remember the Denver game where the Warriors dissected the Nuggets’ defense with post split action. That post split will be even more lethal with Cousins.

Defense Still A Concern

Before Cousins’ injury, he wasn’t considered to be a strong defender. Sure, he’d get his share of rebounds. However, he was prone to trail in transition and struggle with pick and roll defense. Those same concerns revealed themselves in different areas during these two games. There’s been some moments where Cousins is a beat too slow and opponents capitalize.  However, the difference now is Cousins’ willingness to hustle. While Cousins is continuing to get up to speed, look for him to continue to plod the paint.

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