Golden State Warriors: Would DeMarcus Cousins on Cavs change anything?

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Isaiah Thomas /

The Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win the championship again next season. If DeMarcus Cousins ended up on the Cleveland Cavaliers, does that change anything?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing catch up. Their championship window is closing fast. They’re bleeding fast and they’re trying to create a tourniquet before they actually have to make more permanent moves.

The Golden State Warriors have beat them in two of the last three NBA Finals series. The 2017 Finals weren’t particularly close as the arrival of Kevin Durant in the Bay Area increased the gap between the two teams. The Dubs got even better in the offseason.

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Still, the Cavs had a championship core in place. They have the best player in the world in LeBron James. They also had one of the few guys in the entire Association that Golden State can’t guard: Kyrie Irving.

Irving shook the entire league when he requested a trade. The Cavaliers dealt him to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick. It was a blockbuster trade that will have everyone talking for a very long time.

Though Thomas was an All-Star and Crowder is a solid role player, it doesn’t seem like that is enough to beat the Warriors especially with the former’s hip injury. So the Cavaliers are still trying to get better. It’s possible they add Dwyane Wade if he gets bought out, but at this stage in his career, he’s not going to make a huge difference.

Cleveland is reportedly shopping that very desirable pick. The rumors are that they’ve engaged in conversations with the New Orleans Pelicans, presumably about a package built around the pick in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins. But would that be enough?

Let’s give the Cavaliers the best possible deal. In this scenario, they can keep Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. In addition to the pick, they’d send Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, a deal that FS1’s Nick Wright has suggested.

If Thomas can return to full health, then the Cavaliers with Cousins would have a really good top eight or so. A starting lineup of Thomas/JR Smith/James/Love/Cousins would be strong. They would have flexibility in various situations with Crowder, Thompson, and Kyle Korver coming off the bench.

Would Cousins be enough though? Could he help the King dethrone Stephen Curry and the defending champs? Probably not.

By himself, Boogie Cousins is an absolute beast. Offensively, he’s nearly impossible to defend. He’s physical with a great touch around the rim and he can space out and shoot. On that end of the floor, there’s nothing he can do. The Warriors don’t have a defender that could comfortably handle Cousins.

But, of course, there are two sides to the ball. Though Love played solid defense (by his standards) in last year’s Finals, he’s not a stopper. Love and Cousins together would be atrocious on that end of the floor. Imagining a trio of Thomas, Love, and Cousins trying to defend Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green should make every Warriors fan excited.

Thomas and Cousins have played together and it didn’t work. Since then, Thomas exploded into a legitimate no. 1 option. Cousins has proven to have problems meshing with players so dealing with Thomas (again) and James could fall apart.

Cousins also doesn’t solve the Cavaliers’ perimeter defense problems. The Warriors have a lot of guards and wings that will have the opportunity to run freely. Thomas, Korver, Richard Jefferson, and Derrick Rose do not do anything to slow the Warriors’ stars down.

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Cousins would make the Cavaliers much better against 29 teams. In fact, it could pretty much guarantee a win against the Boston Celtics whose interior defense and rebounding problems would be exposed. But it doesn’t give them the edge over Golden State.

The Warriors’ offensive attack is too complex for that defense. On the other side, the Cavaliers’ offense revolves around James far too much for Cousins to comfortably fit in with him, Thomas, and Love. Golden State in five.