Is there a more unlucky player in the NBA right now than DeMarcus Cousins? If you look back 5 or so years, that was definitely Derrick Rose with his unfortunate decline from repeated knee injuries. Rose is now still a solid player and has been fairly healthy in the last few years, but it seems that Cousins has now absorbed Rose’s injury curse.
In just the last two years, Boogie has ruptured an Achilles tendon, tore a quad muscle, and earlier this week he tore his ACL during a workout. Prior to the ACL tear, DeMarcus showed these past playoffs that he can still positively contribute even with two major injuries. Now with a third major injury to his large frame, can his body physically keep up the NBA’s fast pace? Can he still be a dominant low-post scoring and rebounding threat, or will his career start to mirror Dwight Howard after his back injuries?
After signing with the Lakers earlier this offseason, Cousins was very likely to be the starting center. With the injury history Cousins now has and his naturally large body, the odds are almost certain that he will miss the entire 2019-2020 season. This now affects the starting lineup for the Lakers, but it also impacts their chances of making the Finals and winning a championship.
The Clippers stole the spotlight of the offseason by trading for Paul George and signing Kawhi Leonard. These shocking moves made the Clippers early favorites to win the title next year, but the Lakers responded well by picking up Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins.
After the LA Lakers had Cousins and Green on the roster, title odds favored them at +300. The Clippers were close behind at +325. DeMarcus was surely an important part of making the Lakers favorites to win next year. Betonline now has the Clippers favored to win at +350, while the Lakers are tied for second with Milwaukee at +500.
Now that Cousins is expected to miss the season, someone else will need to start at center for the Lakers. Anthony Davis seems to absolutely despise playing center and has even mentioned as much, so that definitely won’t be happening. For right now it looks to be JaVale McGee who will start at center. With Cousins missing the season, the Lakers can pick up an extra big man to flesh out their roster.
The three likeliest free agent signings include Kenneth Faried, Nene, and Dwight Howard. Howard will likely receive a buyout from the Grizzlies and would be a good fit here, but it is unclear if the team would welcome him back after the drama surrounding his previous stint. Faried is another reasonable option here, but he is undersized to play as a center and plays much better as a 4. The Lakers will probably sign Nene to give JaVale McGee rest. Nene is fairly old now at 36, but he had a solid season last year and has the size the team needs.
There are still a few months until the regular season even begins, so the Lakers don’t necessarily need to make any moves just yet. If they want to go after Howard, they can’t do anything right now anyway. For now it’s just a waiting game in LA, but the Clippers appear to hold the top spot.
2020 NBA Championship Odds According to PointsBet:
- Los Angeles Clippers: +350
- Los Angeles Lakers: +500
- Milwaukee Bucks: +500
- Houston Rockets: +800
- Philadelphia 76ers: +900