‘Sticking with basics’ to help Cousins adjust
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 movement-heavy 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.”