Community Shootaround: DeMarcus Cousins’ Return

DeMarcus Cousins is on track to play his first game as a member of the Warriors on Friday against the Clippers, assuming all goes well during his final evaluation on Thursday, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Within his story on Cousins’ impending return, Haynes notes that the former All-Star will actually make his debut several weeks later than he had hoped.

According to Haynes, Cousins wanted to speed up his timeline, and attempted to get cleared to play a few weeks ago, but the Warriors would have imposed a restriction of 10 minutes per game in that scenario. Rather than settling for such limited playing time, Cousins opted to continue his rehab process, improving his conditioning and preparing for a more significant role.

While Cousins will still likely be on some sort of minutes restriction as the club looks to ease him back into action, head coach Steve Kerr has yet to offer any specifics.

“We’ve got some ideas of how we are going to use him,” Kerr said, “but there is not a substitute for actual game experience. So, we’ll put him out there and see how it goes.”

With Cousins’ Warriors debut imminent, it will be fascinating to see how he fits in with Golden State’s other All-Stars and whether he looks at all like his old self after a long, challenging rehabilitation from a major Achilles injury. NBA players who have suffered Achilles tears often don’t make it all the way back, and for those that do, the process often takes two or three years. Still, speaking to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Cousins sounds very confident in his abilities.

“I won’t be the same player. I’ve gotten better,” he said with a laugh. “So you know, a lot of things have changed in my game. You start to tune up other areas of your game: jump shooting, skill work. I think everything has just increased and gotten better.”

The idea of slotting Cousins into a lineup that also features Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green is tantalizing — on paper, it’s the sort of five-man unit that makes Golden State a lock for a third straight championship. But there’s no guarantee it’ll actually be a success on the court. The Warriors’ stars have typically done a great job of buying into the system and playing their roles, but as we’ve seen in Boston this season, things don’t always run smoothly when a team has “too much” talent.

In advance of Cousins’ first game, we want to hear your thoughts on the situation in Golden State. Will Cousins make a great team even better, ensuring that the Warriors are holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy again this June? Will there be some growing pains before Cousins and the Warriors hit their stride down the stretch? Or do you think Cousins might ultimately be a non-factor for Golden State as he continues to recover from a significant injury?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

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