The question with the future of Demarcus Cousins is one of the most interesting in the coming offseason.
Let’s start with the fact that Demarkus is really a center with a huge arsenal of attacking skills that you do not often find even in our “unicorn” time rich.
The main problem of his prospects is that “Pelikans” without him showed a better result than with him. Is this just a coincidence of circumstances and is explained by stupid courage, or is this really a current state of affairs demonstrating the usefulness of Cousins for the organization?
January 26, “New Orleans” lost guaranteed 25.2 points and 5.4 assists for each game. At that time, the team scored 111.1 points and 26.5 assists. The question is, why did Alvin Gentry compensate for this deficit and can this work further?
In the rest of the season:
Anthony Davis +3.7 points
Drew Holiday has a 0.7 points
In Rajon Rondo + 2.7 points
Ian Clark +5.4 points
Well, the incoming Mirotich added 14.6 points
Arrived in the winter with Spaniard Emeka Okafor with his 4 points actually compensated the departed Cunningham with the same number of points.
As a result, by very rough counting we get +27.1 points. After Kazins’ injury, “Pelikans” scored 112.6 points for the match – that is, we actually have the actual difference. Naturally, everything is not so literally, but for a general idea it will do.
Now the same for transfers:
Drew Holiday has 2 assistants
Rajon Rondo +1.9 assistants
We add 1.4 assistant Mirotich, after which our equation again almost came together. The rest is trivial, like a slight drop in the gears of Davis, which is offset by Clark’s increase in that number.
Now it’s time to ask the notorious question “can this work further”.
Obviously, the weakest link in the entire attacking guard is Ian Clark. It is hardly worth doubting that everyone else will be able to keep about the same level. I would like to emphasize that after all the same trauma, none of the key performers whose names were cited above showed any prohibitive implementation percentages in order to wait for a rollback to the average. +/- tenths of a percent. And again – except for the same Clark, relatively well raised his level of implementation. But let’s be frank – this figure is absolutely not the size to take it seriously against the backdrop of solving the issue of issuing 25+ million a year to Kazins. Clark’s glasses are hammered by Solomon Hill, Jordan Crawford, 75 fake accounts of Kevin Durant, Donald Trump or Taisia Povaliy.
Why at this moment do not ask the following logical question: “Well, they can play well without it – but to add to this company also Cousins, so there will be a gun, will not it?”.
No, because with Cousins, who will spend 75% of playing time on the floor, it will not work. Everything will be the same as before the injury. And before the injury, everything worked as follows.
Healthy Demarkus absolutely dominated the dance floor in terms of the level of engagement. 32.4% use in the attack – the fourth result in the league at the time after Harden, Westbrook and suddenly D’Angelo Russell. And 30% of Kazins’ attacks are post-aps and isolation. The effectiveness of the first – 0.88 points for possession, the second – 0.78. You can look at the table and compare, but it’s already clear that this is far from an outstanding figure. In this case, Cousins has never been super efficient in these components, and therefore you can perceive these numbers as a stable value, without references to “well, an unsuccessful season, here it will add.” Even with a spot-up shooter where he has 1.01 PPP with 20% use of this variant of the attack, it’s not so good if you look at other players making a comparable number of attempts. Among those with more than four such possessions, only Al-Faruk Amin, Kelly Ubray, Danny Green, Kayla Kuzma, Lauri Markkanen, Thorin Prince and Andrew Wiggins are worse. In total, there are 22 such players, and Kazinsu company consisted of two newcomers, second-year, two “outstanding” skorera, almost overwhelmed the season Green and just Kelly Ubray. None of them is like a player around which it’s logical to build a playoff team.
Meanwhile, here is already a full half of all the attacks of Cousins. It can not be called effective, there is no reason to hope for a jump in quality either. The same Davis in the same game aspects on the head above.
Therefore, we can not claim that Cousins should be regarded as something beyond the already operating mechanism. This is not an additional upgrade – it is the replacement of parts that will make things work differently.
I think you noticed that all that heap of words that I threw on your head, concerns only the game in the attack. Yes, simply because about the defense of the team with Kazins and Kazins himself, then there is no sense to say.
To put it mildly, Demarcus was never a great specialist in defensive actions. He is mediocre in resisting throws from the paint, bad at the exit to the distance and extremely weak at the defense against the peak-n-roll (statistically – somewhere at the level with Jokić, Townes and Gober, which is good under the ring, but varies and goes to the distance extremely reluctantly). The defensive rating of the main five “Pelikans” with Kazinsom – 109 points. Without Kazins and with Mirotich – 97.4. Here you need to understand that Mirotich has never been the solution to the problem. But here we have the situation of “Denver”, when the main center of the team at any load starts to harm, and therefore always needs another major partner. But if the Nuggets trite can not compensate for the benefits brought by the Serb in the attack, in order to calmly remove him from the field and play with a more reliable scheme – then, as we have already seen, Pelicans are quite capable of doing this, and with Davis at the position of the fifth there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Miroticha hide in the defense is much easier. Therefore, the defense progress is caused not by direct replacement of Kazins by Mirotich, but by a change in the overall scheme, which is more effective for playing in defense.
And this is already too much attention and time to state the obvious – without Cousins ”Pelikans” to defend easier.
So what do we have?
The front office of the club from Louisiana should understand that it is not an option to take such a player “to the couch, maybe we’ll stick”. If you write out a contract to him, be it 50/2, 75/3 or any other perversion – you will return it to the start for 75% of the playing time with all the consequences. To say that “here he will pick up the form, change his game” – this is how to count on the fact that Russell Westbrook will suddenly reduce the number of unprepared throws in favor of the transfers to the opening partners, begin to move in the attack and rest against the defense.
Why would suddenly? Good ten years nothing happened – and then a sudden insight?
However, like Westbrook, Cousins has one important problem, closely related to what was said above. Both of them can not be anyone else, except the first option of their team. They work only when they are fully loaded with a ball. They do not move without the ball and do not represent value without it.
Is it worth talking about who is the slowest central league?
It’s worth it, because it’s Dirk Nowitzki, who played center this season. But Cousins is right behind him. Accurate for a hundred-year-old German, who is guarded by the whole team, so that he does not break up into parts in the middle of the site. And it makes no sense to say that one moves at the snail’s speed in the merging team, which plays the 27th pace in the league – and the other in the contender for the playoffs, playing the first pace in the league. The same conditional Jokić or Embiyd drive not as an example more as a whole, and specifically in the attack. Jokić, with all my (and Mike Malone) claims to his defense game, constantly moves without a ball, regularly going out to do screening and opening. Cousins is without a ball.
Once again – when you sign such a player yourself, you a priori agree to build the whole game around him, otherwise there is no point in it.
It is possible that the same Davis is not against the role of the second violin and he is comfortable in this position. It is possible that the decision of the front office “Pelikans” will be dictated not by basketball reasons, but rather a status decision aimed at increasing loyalty to the club from the same Davis.
Now you can only say that building a team around Cousins for the “New Orleans” – at a loss. It is not so important – for 50 million for two years or for the maximum.
A photo: Gettyimages.en / Chris Graythen, Ezra Shaw, Rob Carr, Steve dykes