2. Defensive Deficiencies
Many Atlanta Hawks fans are probably willing to overlook the offensive deficiencies of DeMarcus Cousins because on paper he is a decent defender. Yet things aren’t always what they seem.
The fact that he was on a good defensive team, helped Cousins. In the ESPN stats that calculates how many wins a center brings to a team, Boogie finished number 29. This again trailed Dewayne Dedmon who ranked number 21.
Most importantly the areas that Atlanta needs to shore up most defensively, are the areas that Cousins is weak in.
Speaking of shot blocking, DeMarcus Cousins is not an elite rim protector. He is a decent shot blocker at 1.5 blocks per game. He is a smart defender, but his lack of lift means opposing drivers are not afraid to finish over him.
The other area that Cousins is deficient in, is pick and roll defense. He lacks the foot speed and lateral quickness to keep up with perimeter players off the dribble.
This problem was evident for Boogie during this year’s NBA Finals. Center Kevon Looney was unavailable during portions of the series, due to a broken collarbone. This forced the Warriors to play Cousins for extended minutes.
The Toronto Raptors took advantage of DeMarcus Cousins in the pick and roll, by constantly forcing switches onto Kyle Lowery. Lowery was cooking Cousins off the dribble and disrupting the Warriors entire defensive scheme.
3. Durability Issues
The other major factor that should dissuade the Atlanta Hawks from signing Boogie Cousins, is his lack of durability. He has only played in 565 of a possible 820 career regular season games.
DeMarcus Cousins has played in 70 plus games, only four times in his ten-year NBA tenure. He only played in 30 games this past season, after suffering a torn quad muscle.
The torn quad muscle was likely a result of favoring a more serious injury, a torn Achilles tendon that he was returning from. In NBA history only Dominique Wilkins has returned to play at a high level, with equal effectiveness as before such an injury.
Though Boogie Cousins brings a high level skill to the table, he can not be counted on to stay healthy. It can not be assumed that he will return to his All NBA form. In fact the safe bet would be to believe that he will not.