On paper, the recent quad injury to DeMarcus Cousins seems like a major loss for the Warriors. Certainly, for most teams, losing an All-Star caliber center in the midst of a playoff run is entirely detrimental. However, the Warriors aren’t most teams. Losing the least impactful of their five all-stars isn’t as big a loss as some initially thought.
Cousins On/Off Statistics
Without Cousins, the Warriors are essentially the same team that won the championship last year, however their bench is slightly weaker. Regardless, Cousins has in fact made them worse offensively, and arguably worse defensively. Although their overall field goal percentage is up due to some easy points in the paint by Boogie, their 3P% and overall offensive rating are down when he’s on the court. Furthermore, their improved defensive rating with Cousins on the floor is a bit misleading. Even though they give up just 0.1 points per 100 possessions more with him defending the paint, Cousins hardly passes the eye test. He’s extremely foul prone, and while he’s a decent body to put against opposing big man, he struggles when switched out onto the perimeter.
Overall, with the offensive firepower that the Warriors already have between Curry, Thompson and Durant, the team doesn’t exactly need another weapon on offense. Given that Boogie doesn’t improve their defense by a discernible amount, this loss isn’t the greatest, especially when compared back up Center/Power Forward Kevon Looney’s on/off numbers.
Looney On/Off Statistics
While Cousins was first recovering, Looney saw decent minutes and started 24 games this year. Though he isn’t much of a scoring threat, he doesn’t need to be when he plays with the other starters. He’s a willing passer and his ability to switch onto the perimeter makes him a plus for the Warriors. Golden State had a higher offensive and defensive rating with Looney on the floor as compared to Cousins. They also shot better from three, and also allowed fewer points in the paint. It goes without saying that Cousins is the more talented player, however, it’s clear that the Warriors were getting diminishing returns with the addition of their fifth All-Star.
Besides Looney, the Warriors have several other capable lineups. With the addition of Andrew Bogut, he is also an option at center. Furthermore, the Warriors’ best lineup is actually with Andre Iguodala on the wing with Draymond Green at center.
The Warriors With Bogut
Despite Bogut’s limited playing time, the team’s offense has been impressive with him on the floor. Golden State shoots a ridiculous 51.5% from the floor and 42.7% from deep, and they average an additional 2.5 assists per 100 possessions with Bogut on the court. While they’ve suffered a bit in terms of defensive rating and rebounding, lineups with Bogut allow fewer points in the paint per 100 possessions than any of the others in this article.
The Hampton Five
With how long Iguodala’s been with the Warriors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is their best lineup. While they suffer a bit in terms of counting stats, their offensive rating is solid, and their defensive rating is the best of any of the Warriors’ lineups. Going forward, we’ll more than likely see Steve Kerr alternate between Kevon Looney and Andre Iguodala depending on the situation.
Boogie is an incredibly talented center, however, in the case of the Golden State Warriors, they didn’t really need him. No other team could lose an All-Star center and scarcely have their odds to win a championship drop. While Cousins gives Golden State a unique post presence, the team already has too many mouths to feed. Furthermore, he’s a liability defensively, and his lack of an ability to defend the perimeter likely would’ve led to less playing time in the next round against the Rockets regardless.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com
Featured image courtesy of Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle
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