DeMarcus Cousins will bring jolt of energy Warriors need right now

DeMarcus Cousins will bring jolt of energy Warriors need right now

OAKLAND – After spending this season existing between tedium and passion, the Warriors are about to get someone who can alter that routine.

Here comes DeMarcus Cousins, and he doesn’t do tedium on basketball court.

Cousins is projected make his Warriors debut sometime next week. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center has targeted the Jan. 18 game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Coach Steve Kerr was less specific Tuesday night but noted that possibility.

“It will happen around that time,” Kerr said after a 122-95 win over the New York Knicks. “It’s not as simple as ‘that’s the game.’ It’s somewhere in that neighborhood.”

Kerr mentioned the possibility of Cousins playing as soon as Jan. 16, when the New Orleans Pelicans – Cousins’ former team – visit Oracle Arena.

In either case, Cousins is coming, and soon. He will be the new toy, something to engage and captivate the Warriors and maybe light the spark that has been missing all too often in the first half of the season.

“It’s exciting,” said Klay Thompson, whose 43-point outburst destroyed the Knicks. “I know our fan base is excited, the NBA is excited.”

If Thompson is excited, his teammates are twice that. They’ve seen his workouts. They’ve scrimmaged with him. They know the wealth of talent he possesses. They also know of the dynamic energy that follows Cousins, who can be a walking, talking lightning bolt.

This is a team, with a 27-14 record, that can use some of that.

“It’s obviously a nice morale boost, with that on the horizon, DeMarcus coming back,” Stephen Curry said.

“We understand there’s going to be an adjustment – for everybody. And, hopefully, it will give us another type of challenge in terms of really being disciplined and diligent on how we perform as a team with DeMarcus in the rotation and take us to new heights.”

Defense has been the biggest factor in the Warriors relative underperformance. They’ve played in intermittently, sometimes not at all and sometimes as if they actually mean it.

Cousins is not known as an elite defender and, therefore, won’t help much on that end. But he brings an emotional energy that can shoot through his teammates, and that might push them to defend better.

“His first couple games, who knows how it will go?” Curry wondered. “But with the collective IQ we have in our locker room and understanding the unselfishness around what we do, we’ll be able to figure it out quickly.

“But it’s going to be an adjustment for sure.”

The adjustment will work both ways. The Warriors will have to become familiar with Cousins and he’ll have to do the same with them.

But that’s the kind thing this team generally thrives on. Test the Warriors, and they usually respond impressively. It’s the humdrum of the 82-game regular season, which they regard as the rehearsal for the postseason, which opens the door to collective ennui.

“I can’t wait to integrate him into our team,” Thompson said. “He adds a whole new dimension, especially on the block. He’s such a handful down there, and with his ability to play-make. So excited to get DeMarcus back.”

Cousins has been working with Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine and performance, for four months now. The rehab process hasn’t always gone smoothly, but there have been no setbacks. Cousins has been a part of practices for the 10 days.

“The last two scrimmages that he’s had, it’s looked to us and felt to him that he has broken through a barrier,” Kerr said. “And we were waiting for that barrier. Now that he is through that barrier, and assuming everything goes well . . . that’s sort of the idea, to get him in sometime that week.”

“That week” is the six-day window between Jan. 16-21. Cousins is eager to play. He has been eager for a couple weeks. The team needs a big man, and he fills that role as well as anyone in the league.

The team needs a jolt of zeal. Cousins will bring that simply by suiting up.

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

Steph Curry shares his thoughts on Allen Iverson's 'top five' comment

At NBA All-Star weekend last year, Allen Iverson told Steph Curry that he's in his "top five all day long."

Since then, Iverson repeatedly has said that the Warriors' superstar would be his point guard if he was assembling an all-time starting five.

"You know what's funny -- I have that saved on my phone," Curry told Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the latest episode of "All the Smoke" on Showtime (the full show will air this Thursday). "It's crazy. It's crazy, right?

"I ain't never had a big head. That dude who I picked up a lot of game and inspiration from -- he's now looking at my game ...

"Some OGs, they don't want to relinquish the praise. Same way we respect the OGs, we want it both ways. So when you do hear that, that means something."

As Steph said after Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals: "Low-key, I've always wanted to be like Allen Iverson."

It must be killing the three-time NBA champion to be sidelined with the broken left hand, especially on nights like Monday in Portland when he sat on the Warriors' bench while Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard dropped 61 points in an overtime win over the Dubs.

[RELATED: What names did Charles Barkley just call Steph and Klay?]

Now is the perfect time to remind everybody that the two-time NBA MVP averaged 36.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists against the Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference Finals, all while shooting 47 percent overall and nearly 43 percent from deep.

It's safe to assume that Iverson doesn't forget about that, and neither should you.

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Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop


Why comparing Warriors' Eric Paschall to Draymond Green should stop

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The offseason comparisons between Warriors rookie Eric Paschall and star forward Draymond Green made sense. Both were highly successful four-year college basketball players from big-time programs that were taken in the second round of the NBA draft due to concerns of their overall athleticism and their inability to fit in to a traditional position.

Both players supposedly were too undersized to play the power forward position in the NBA, but also not quick or polished enough to be small forwards. Even their physiques had similar builds. So with all of that, comparing the two players before the season began was logical.

But it is not anymore.

The most important caveat is that Green is a three-time All-Star, a Defensive Player of the Year, three-time NBA champion and at one point, was widely considered a top-20 player in the league. Conversely, Paschall is a rookie who has not had a chance to accomplish an NBA resume yet.

Comparing both players seems silly already, and it is unfair to Paschall for creating expectations for that type of success. And yet if the side-by-side comparison is simply regarding how they play, Paschall and Green are completely different in their skillsets and approach to the game. 

On the defensive end, Draymond is one of the best help-side defenders in the modern NBA. He plays a "free safety" type role, using his unique ability to read the opponent's every move while also having the quickness and strength to counter them. Despite being just 6-foot-6, Green is elite at guarding big men in the NBA, while also having the unique ability to defend every position on the court.

Paschall, on the other hand, still is learning to play defense at the NBA level, and even with that, has shown to be more of a one-on-one defender so far. While he is more accustomed to guarding the power forward position, he has had impressive defensive moments defending "straight up" against wings, sliding his feet and using his strength to force them into tough shots.

It will take time for Paschall to develop from a good defender into the great one that many think he is capable of becoming. Regardless, his current projection does not have him playing the same defensive style as Green.

On offense, the contrast between the two is even greater. Green became one of the most unique offensive threats in the game as a great playmaker in transition and out of the pick-and-roll. His ability to push the ball full speed in the fast break and expose slow opposing big men helped pave the way for the Warriors' "Death Lineup" that revolutionized small-ball.

At his peak, Green was a 39 percent 3-point shooter, but scored most of his points on the break attacking the hoop. His elite passing ability helped him rack up assists, where he could spread the ball around to the greatest shooters of all-time surrounding him. 

[RELATED: Why Dubs are in power position with Burks at trade deadline]

While Paschall has shown glimpses of impressive playmaking talent, his real bread and butter so far in the NBA has been dominating opponents one-on-one. He is remarkably explosive jumping off two feet, and he is able to combine his great strength with unique finesse when finishing over defenders at the rim. His shooting is very inconsistent from deep, just like Draymond, but he still is refining a mid-range pull-up that keeps defenders honest.

For being only a few months into this NBA career, Paschall already has become a "throw the ball to him and clear out of the way" type talent on offense. While Paschall might never be the type of offensive quarterback like Green, he already is on his way to becoming a more dynamic scoring threat.

Draymond will continue to take Paschall under his wing and teach him the nuances of the game. But when all is said and done, the two Warriors will complement each other very nicely on the court with their own personal skills and differentiated abilities, rather than repetitive and possibly gratuitous similarities.