DeMarcus Cousins

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A revitalized DeMarcus Cousins poses the most unique challenge of Thomas Bryant’s young career

A revitalized DeMarcus Cousins poses the most unique challenge of Thomas Bryant’s young career

The Golden State Warriors, it's probably safe to say, present a unique challenge defensively. They have two MVPs and five All-NBA selections. If you ask Scott Brooks, they have six future Hall of Famers, including Andre Iguodala off the bench.

With DeMarcus Cousins now in the fold, the Warriors can roll out a five-man lineup of guys who can put the ball on the floor and shoot from the outside. Long range shooting for them, of course, has a different meaning than other teams. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant are deadly from 30 feet, and sometimes beyond. 

As a team, the Warriors shoot 39 percent from the perimeter on 33.5 attempts per game. Stopping them is a gargantuan task, but the Wizards will give it a shot on Thursday night with an 8 p.m. tipoff set for national TV on TNT.

The Warriors' ability to spread the floor and move the ball from shooter to shooter with unrivaled range is difficult to keep up with, not only for the wing defenders chasing them around. It will also present a unique challenge for Wizards center Thomas Bryant, who at 21 years old and in his second season will be new to it all.

Bryant has only played the Warriors once in his career. That was earlier this season, with the Wizards on Oct. 24. He logged nine minutes, but those were late in a 22-point blowout loss. The game occurred about a month before he was promoted to the starting lineup.

It may seem counterintuitive that Bryant, a big man, will be one to watch as the Wizards battle a team tailored for the perimeter. But he will have plenty of responsibility on the backline of Washington's defense. 

"He has to be a quarterback," Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. "He has to talk. Their bigs, they hand the ball off a lot and we'll be switching tomorrow. He has to make sure he's able to guard Steph, Klay, K.D. at times. He's going to be switched out to guys. Making it difficult for them with his length and playing with energy, that's what we need."

Bryant, indeed, could very easily find himself on an island at the three-point line, tasked momentarily to stay in front of Curry, for instance. The Warriors will do their best to find mismatches, and they are good at getting them.

Bryant has quick feet and long arms that suggest he can guard in space, but doesn't do a ton of perimeter duty for the Wizards. He is 85th among centers in contested threes per 36 minutes. Usually, he stays home around the rim.

However, he'll almost certainly have to venture out against Golden State, even if he is trailing Cousins. Last season, when he was healthy, Cousins averaged 6.1 three-point attempts per game. This season, through two games back from Achilles surgery, he has taken 40 percent of his shots beyond 16 feet.

"They put so much pressure on you defensively that all five guys need to be on-point," Brooks said. "A lot of times in transition, Thomas is going to be guarding smaller guys because they're coming at you all over the floor. You have to be able to manage that and guard that."

Bryant will get his chance against the Warriors, but the leash could end up being short. Brooks has the option to go small with Jeff Green at center. He could favor a lineup with Green in the middle alongside Trevor Ariza and Otto Porter Jr. at forward and Beal and Tomas Satoransky at guard. That would maximize their ability to switch.

Bryant, though, will start. Whether he stays on the floor could depend on how he fares defending outside shots, which he hasn't done a whole of this season.


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John Wall is everyone finding out DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors

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John Wall is everyone finding out DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors

When DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors, it broke NBA Twitter. 

Now, a video surfaced of John Wall finding out his former Kentucky teammate went to Golden State, and it is all of us summed up in one reaction:

Even though Cousins will miss the start of the season recovering from that ruptured Achilles, this will eventually give the Warriors five All-Stars in their starting lineup.

So yeah, we all felt the same way John.  

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John Wall sees DeMarcus Cousins through emotional trade to Pelicans

John Wall sees DeMarcus Cousins through emotional trade to Pelicans

When John Wall was asked about DeMarcus Cousins joining Anthony Davis to play with the New Orleans Pelicans, it still was a hypothetical question after the All-Star Game. Now it's official.

Cousins, Wall's teammate in 2010 at Kentucky before both were lottery picks, was traded from the Sacramento Kings. The Wizards' point guard talked about his conversation after Sunday's exhibition in New Orleans.

"I talked to him. I called him. He was a little upset at the time. Didn't think it was going to happen. He told me he was going to stay put (in New Orleans). He was just sitting in the airport like, 'I don't know where in the hell to go,'" Wall said. "He figured he'd go back to Sacramento for a couple of days, say his goodbyes, head to New Orleans. I think he's in a better place now. I think what they did with coming and meeting and talking to him ...that was a key that made him feel a little more comfortable. Then to have the opportunity to have a great tandem."

Davis is an All-Star frontline player, a face-up/stretch power forward who can play center though he's undersized. Cousins has the more sturdy physique but he has increasingly been playing on the perimeter. 

"They have a chance to sneak into the playoffs. It's going to take a little bit of time because those guys are so dominant and need the ball," Wall said. "When you have two great players like that who are close, that's friends, spend a lot of time together I think it'll be a short period of time before they figure it out."

[RELATED: Brooks: A Porter trade "wouldn't even be discussed"]