Boooooogggggiiieeeeee is back! DeMarcus Cousins appears to be close to signing with the champion Milwaukee Bucks according to the latest report from Adrian Wojnarowski. With Brook Lopez still on the mend (link) and no timetable for his return, it makes sense for the Bucks to add some depth in the frontcourt. What Boogie can offer after years of injuries remains to be seen.
The last time we saw Cousins, he was in a similar role trying to give an injured title contender a boost. That was the Los Angeles Clippers in last year’s playoffs once Kawhi Leonard went down. While that stint was up and down, he did record, in my book, the play of the postseason when he stole the ball from Chris Paul and went coast to coast for a layup.
Boogie strips Chris Paul and beats him coast to coast?!?. pic.twitter.com/qqUTMkOrhm— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) June 29, 2021
Due in large part to a terrible, no good, very bad 18 months, Boogie is no longer the player who has been a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA center. Such is the life of a behemoth who suffers three major leg injuries. Cousins was never one to be in great shape, and the injuries have removed almost all hope for him to move in such a way that leads to plus offense and average defense. Sill, utilizing him in short spurts on a smart team has proven valuable in 2019 and 2021.
The Boogie Gamble on Defense
This is why the gamble makes sense for the Bucks. First off, Boogie’s contract doesn’t need to be guaranteed until January 7th, so they have some time to see how this shakes out. Further, they could have Lopez back by then and the Bucks front court rotation of Giannis Antetokoumpo, Lopez, and Bobby Portis has proven to be more than enough. However, what fun is there exploring why a treasure like Cousins might be released?
Why this works for the Bucks is because of the defensive system they already employ. Lopez, even with great strides on defense, has always been a plodder. For this reason, the Bucks play drop coverage in pick and roll. While it has been much maligned, this scheme has largely worked, especially with the tenacious Bucks backcourt players chasing over the top of screens. Cousins can seamlessly slot into this scheme, utilizing his long arms and quick hands to corral ball-handlers and poke the ball away (see above).
In addition, Milwaukee has plenty of holdovers from the last few seasons who are adept at their overall defensive scheme. This includes inevitable rotations someone like Cousins could trigger when his defense fails. Plus, it helps to have a human eraser in Giannis patrolling the help side.
The Offense Fit is More Clunky
On offense, the fit is a little more clunky. While Cousins does have the ability to step out and shoot, whether as a floor spacer or pick and pop, he really does his damage in close. The Bucks have gotten great run with their typical frontcourt because Lopez and Portis both are adept shooters, allowing Giannis more room to operate inside. Giannis and Boogie on the court together could clog the paint. Portis and Boogie playing together could be some abysmal defense.
How Mike Budenholzer and his staff scheme up either Giannis and Boogie or a Boogie small ball lineup will be key to making this work. I can’t imagine the Bucks would ask more than 10-15 minutes out of Cousins, but that could still be enough to tank a game. Budenholzer and his general lack of adjustments could help to tank this experiment.
Get That Ring Boogie
Cousins, once again, signs with a team that is giving him the opportunity to help them win a title. This is his fourth straight season following this path and it says something about him and his skill that these teams keep giving him the opportunity. While there are several reasons to see why this won’t work, this Boogie stan will continue to believe that Cousins will finally get to taste champagne, making his arduous four-year journey worth it.
For more basketball coverage from Belly Up Sports, check out The Midweek Midrange show on YouTube on Wednesdays and @HoopsBellyUp on Twitter. Read additional coverage at Belly Up Sports and follow me (@thoughtsofR2).