Raptors: Toronto should stay far away from DeMarcus Cousins

The DeMarcus Cousins experiment has ended in Houston, as the Rockets are going to part ways with him but that doesn’t mean the Toronto Raptors should pursue him.

The former fifth-overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft was a star with the Sacramento Kings. Averaging as high as 27.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game, Boogie was one of the most highly touted players prior to getting traded to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2016-17 season.

Although he looked to be a force beside Anthony Davis, injuries stopped that duo from becoming one of the most fearful frontcourts in the NBA. Instead, Cousins will now be looking to join his fifth team in the past five years and probably won’t be much of a difference-maker.

In 25 games with the Rockets this season, the 30-year-old has seen limited action, averaging 20 minutes per night. Per 36, his stats are pretty decent, as he is averaging 17.1 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, those numbers are a bit dishonest, as he isn’t even making 40 percent of his shots despite operating near the rim frequently.

Although he’s still a decent rebounder and scorer, he’s pretty bad defensively. The 6-foot-10 center struggles as a rim-protector because he’s never a threat to block a shot in the paint. He’s also not quick enough on switches to cover the perimeter. As a result, he’s a liability and someone you can’t trust in crunch time.

The Raptors should not pursue DeMarcus Cousins

After staring the season 2-8, the team has bounced back with a winning record and is now fifth in the Eastern Conference. One big reason for their improvement is their dedication to small-ball. After the Raptors were struggling with Aron Baynes as their starting center, they adjusted and have looked much better with him in a bench role.

Although the Raptors are winning and small-ball has been working, they still need another big-man. In order to succeed in the playoffs, you need more than one rotation and a different variety of players for different situations. Cousins may be a big-name player with some great stats from years past, but he, unfortunately, doesn’t fit what the Raptors need.

As seen especially by their impressive 110-96 win against the Milwaukee Bucks last week, if the Raptors are going to be a force in the Eastern Conference again, it’s going to start on the defensive end of the court. The DNA of this Raptors team under Nick Nurse has always been about defense-first and as a result, Cousins doesn’t fit that mold.

As much fun as it would be to see someone like Cousins head north and join the Raptors, he’d only become a distraction and a liability on defense. This current rotation is working and unless they can find a big-man who’s a great defender, they shouldn’t mess with this mix right now.

Cousins could return to his old form elsewhere, but that is asking a lot of a player that has been beset by some of the worst injuries a basketball player can sustain.