The Golden State Warriors will be without big man DeMarcus Cousins when they take to the Oracle Arena floor for a Western Conference Finals rematch against James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Thursday, but the four-time All-Star’s return is drawing closer.
Cousins is nearing one year away from the court since undergoing season-ending surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon last January, but the team continues to receive good news. The two-time All-NBA center, who signed one-year, $5,3 million contract with Golden State this past offseason, practiced in full on Wednesday. While Cousins will not be in the lineup for Thursday, there is a real chance Cousins’ targeted return is going to be much sooner rather than later.
Second-year player Jordan Bell spoke to reporters following Cousins practicing on Wednesday. Bell made some funny remarks, stating that he “cooked” Cousins, although, the energy level of the practice was probably more subdued as the organization eases the former Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans player back into the fold.
Boogie has steadily had his practice workload increase since first returning to the court when he reported to Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, back on December 10. On Monday in Phoenix, Cousins took part in a pregame shooting routine, another positive sign of the star’s potential imminent return.
Impact of DeMarcus Cousins’ Return
While Cousins has never been known for his prowess on the defensive end, his presence is sorely needed in the middle of the Golden State lineup. A big to potentially set up more open shots for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as clog the paint and force more shots to the perimeter on the defensive end is exactly what the Warriors could use to boost a defensive efficiency ranking that has, thus far, dipped to 15th in the NBA this season.
Fans have also not forgotten about Boogie – and how could they? As of now, without playing a game in almost a calendar year, Boogie has secured over 93,000 All-Star Game votes from fans, good for 10th among all frontcourt players:
Head coach Steve Kerr is also positive on Cousins’ return. Kerr told reporters that Boogie still needs to work on conditioning and his timeline is still relatively unknown. Kerr is usually honest, and much less coy than say a Gregg Popovich in regard to discussing the status of certain players. Conditioning is seemingly one the last steps in regard to a player’s return from rehabbing a major injury.