‘Stick­ing with ba­sics’ to help Cousins ad­just

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Con­nor Le­tourneau

DAL­LAS — To ease play­ers’ work­loads, War­riors head coach Steve Kerr has taken to can­cel­ing prac­tice this sea­son.

But there Golden State was Satur­day evening, toil­ing through an hour-long work­out at SMU, fresh off a flight from Oak­land. There was work to be done: With less than a week un­til his War­riors de­but, cen­ter DeMar­cus Cousins is still ac­cli­mat­ing to Kerr’s sys­tem.

“We’re kind of stick­ing with the ba­sics, and try­ing to nar­row the menu rather than broaden it,” Kerr said. “But there will be a cou­ple wrin­kles we will put in. He al­ready fits in pretty well with some of the stuff we will run.

“We will put in some low­post stuff for him, and we have to get a feel for it, too. But we have a pack­age of plays that we have in mind, and it doesn’t feel right to just throw all of that stuff at him right away. We’ll take our time with it.”

In Kerr’s first 4½ sea­sons, his cen­ters — ev­ery­one from An­drew Bogut to Fes­tus Ezeli to David West to Kevon Looney — were solid role play­ers. Cousins, who presents al­most as many prob­lems along the perime­ter as he does in­side, of­fers Golden State plenty of of­fen­sive pos­si­bil­i­ties.

His low-post abil­i­ties sep­a­rate him from the War­riors’ other All-Stars. Sur­rounded by so many shoot­ers, Cousins should have the space to thrive in sin­gle cov­er­age.

Golden State’s move­mentheavy sys­tem could help the ca­reer 73.7-per­cent free throw shooter get to the foul line. Af­ter con­tend­ing with the War­riors’ pa­rade of passes, de­fenses are bound to foul Cousins on dunk at­tempts.

There is also Cousins’ 3point range, which will al­low Kerr to em­ploy big line­ups loaded with shoot­ing threats. With so much room to op­er­ate, Stephen Curry and Kevin Du­rant will have new­found free­dom, os­cil­lat­ing be­tween iso­la­tion sit­u­a­tions and 3point­ers.

“We’re ex­cited, but it’s a lit­tle daunt­ing, too,” Kerr said of in­te­grat­ing Cousins into the of­fense. “It’s not go­ing to be sim­ple just to plug him in. There’s go­ing to be an ad­just­ment pe­riod. He knows that, but it’s a fun chal­lenge.”

Con­nor Le­tourneau is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer.

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