DeMarcus Cousins is frustrated. His struggles with the Golden State Warriorsshould really come as no surprise given both his inevitably gradual re-acclimation to the game after tearing his Achilles and his complicated fit within Steve Kerr’s system — on both sides of the ball.
Cousins’ offensive transition has been wildly encouraging thus far, with the Warriors’ all-time starting five both feeding its All-Star big man and pinging the ball all over the court. On defense, however, is where Cousins’ presence is proving problematic for Golden State.
The silver lining? DeMarcus Cousins isn’t only acknowledging that reality but knows specifically in what aspect of defense he needs to improve most.
“Guys are attacking me in the pick-and-roll. It’s obvious,” he told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “I just gotta be ready for it, prepare for it. Then I just gotta stay out of f****** foul trouble. Jesus Christ.”
The four-time All-Star left his team’s 118-112 loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He never returned, despite finishing the game with just four fouls. In 27 minutes, Cousins had 13 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three steals, four blocks and five turnovers.
Jordan Bell replaced him for crunch time, allowing the Warriors to switch screens across five positions. Golden State’s comeback fell short regardless, which is especially concerning given the absence of James Harden — basketball’s most dangerous ball-screen operator — who missed the game with a cervical injury.
Cousins will get more comfortable as his stint with the Warriors continues. But defensively, he’ll always be a challenge for Kerr and his staff to overcome against superstar ball handlers with 3-point range.