Pack It Up. It’s Over.
On Sunday, the NBA was abuzz with the news of LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers. When the world woke up Monday morning, the headlines were all about how the Lakers would build around LeBron and how long it would take for the Lakers to be competitive. Well, the NBA’s resident dynasty decided to answer the question for everyone. The answer is not 2019, and maybe never if they remain aggressive in their pursuits. Now I want you to read this next part carefully. This isn’t a typo, this isn’t a joke, and this isn’t fake news. DeMarcus Cousins has signed with the Golden State Warriors for the mid-level exception. Yes, that DeMarcus Cousins. Yes, they now have four players in their starting lineup that played on Team USA’s 2016 Gold Medal Team. Yes, their starting lineup resembles the Western Conference All-Star team. And yes, you’re screwed if you’re not a fan of the Warriors.
Now it’s important to note that Cousins is coming off of a torn Achilles. With one exception (Dominique Wilkins), that injury has derailed many careers. It explains why Cousins had “no significant contract offers” when free agency started. But this is still absurd. Even at a fraction of himself, Cousins is the best Center the Warriors have ever had during this dynastic stretch. He can pass, shoot, score on the block, and block shots. He covers the Warriors one glaring weakness. And if he comes back at anywhere close to 100%, you might as well cancel the season. And this is what makes the Warriors so unique as an organization. They never stop trying to get better. Their superstars don’t have much of an ego and are willing to roll out the red carpet for others. And their culture is a championship one. Any other team would’ve broken up by now under the weight of inflated egos and players wanting more of something. That doesn’t seem to exist with Golden State. And it’s the reason why the league belongs to them.
It’s funny how quickly things can change. Fans celebrated the new parity in the East, the resurgence of the Lakers organization, and how it felt like basketball was back. But now the discussion is right back to where it was when the Finals ended. People are claiming the Warriors have ruined the NBA. But the Warriors are just doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They refuse to rest on their laurels. They’re always looking for a way to improve. It’s not their fault that no one else wanted to sign Cousins. You can point the finger to the other 29 General Managers in the league that let this happen. It’s not their fault that injuries and circumstances allowed them to sign Kevin Durant. What do you want them to do, pass on him? Golden State is doing what is necessary to stay on top. Blame other teams for not keeping up. And speaking of the other teams, I’m interested in seeing how they will respond to this. Like it or not, the next season will come and someone will have to stand up and compete with the Warriors.