Clippers: Ways To Beat Warriors Ep. 2 – Add DeMarcus Cousins?

Feb 26, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts to a call against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) reacts to a call against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

For episode 2 of his “Ways To Beat Warriors” series, examining ideas to try and overtake Golden State, Tim Hiley considers another hypothetical trade involving the Los Angeles Clippers pursuing DeMarcus Cousins.

Imagine a trade involving the Los Angeles Clippers sending a package built around DeAndre Jordan to the Sacramento Kings for DeMarcus Cousins.

Okay, hear me out. It may sound like the Clippers are robbing the Kings and there’s probably no chance of this ever happening, but I believe it makes sense for both sides. No offense to any Sacramento fans, but their entire franchise is a total mess right now and parting with Cousins’ attitude has come into that. There is zero stability, a constant upheaval in coaches and front office personnel and controversy on and off the court, which tallied up to the point they were understandably named “Worst of the Year” by NBA TV’s The Starters.

Despite just leaving an arena called the Sleep Train, the last few years for the Kings have been far from dull. Dysfunctional and disharmonious, they have reportedly been shopping Cousins on and off for years. Cousins will be a free agent in 2018 and why on earth would he want to stay in such an environment, especially when the Kings cannot stop hoarding centers on their roster?

The Kings have yet to make a single playoff appearance in Cousins’ six seasons in the NBA, and coupled with instability of coaching changes and puzzling front office decisions (of course, some of which was his fault), it’s hardly surprising that he doesn’t hold back in showing his emotions.

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Enter the Clippers. It would be a perfect situation for the Clippers, Cousins and — in my opinion — the Kings. The Clippers would get arguably the most talented center in the league, who recorded 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game with ease last season (not to mention making 70 threes, too).

Boogie could thrive in a Doc Rivers system that would boast even more firepower with an elite offensive force at center, benefiting from the league’s best floor general in Chris Paul feeding him the ball in a frontcourt partnered with another elite playmaker in Blake Griffin.

Plus, with the Golden State’s only notable weakness being a lack of rim protection and size, Cousins’ interior physicality, rebounding, and powerful post scoring would be a major asset to have in matchups against Kevin Durant‘s Warriors.

It would be the ultimate win-now move for the Clippers. Next summer, Griffin, Paul, J.J. Redick will all be free agents, with Cousins being a free agent the following summer, possibly breaking up the starting five before they have a chance to really build themselves up.

However, it would give DeMarcus a top coach who is known for getting the best out of troublesome players — as he did with Rajon Rondo during his Boston days — and a legitimate chance of contending for not only a high seed in the Western Conference, but a chance to win a championship. It would give Clippers a new superstar center, one who’s far more offensively gifted than Jordan, while also bringing it at the other end of the court, too.

Meanwhile, the Kings can remove a troubled star in their locker room and land the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team center in return.

It would give Jordan an opportunity to prove what he can be (or what he wants to be). While Griffin was injured, Jordan averaged 14.2 points and 14.4 boards a game as a third option behind Paul and Redick in the starting lineup. If he actually manages to become a number one option in Sacramento as he wished to do with Dallas, he could produce even more, certainly in the points department, although it is dependent on having a great point guard alongside him.

The current incumbent at the point guard spot in the wake of Rondo’s departure is former teammate of Jordan, Darren Collinson. It would also give the fans a likeable, calm presence both on and off the court which could provide a much-needed period of stability.

Could the Kings attract more appealing moves to reset the roster from teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics? Probably, but I think if I was Sacramento, I would view this move as the right move. Not the most popular, but the best fit, while acquiring top-tier talent.

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I can’t see them pulling the trigger straight away, but maybe as the trade deadline approaches next season, they could look into such deals for Cousins.

I would say in many ways it would be a bigger gamble for the Clippers, adding another loud and vocal presence to the locker room and one whose voice is often more aggressive than constructive. Yet, that could be tamed by Paul and Doc.

Beyond the long-term risk of making such a win-now type move, it would also lead to even more technical fouls as Cousins consistently racks up techs, just as the Clippers lead teams in technicals.

A match made in referee hell, surely? There would also be the matter of Cousins previously saying how much he really hates the Clippers. Still, backtracking and a change of ways can be good for the soul ‘n all that, and there’s no doubt he’d enjoy far more success in L.A.

Next: Why on earth would Clippers trade Blake for Rudy Gay?

However, due to the minimal (at best) chance of this happening and other possibilities being far more suitable for the Clippers’ future, this isn’t the best strategy to assemble a team that could try to overtake the Warriors in the Western Conference. Stay tuned for another theory in episode 3.