We all understand that the Warriors are fully within their rights to sign any player they like. We dealt with comments about “cheating” when Kevin Durant signed as a free agent two years ago. There is no need to restart a silly debate.
The Warriors are a professional sports franchise. Their entire purpose is to put the best team on the floor, night in and night out. They want to win every single game they play. We all understand that. But that does not make their dominance any easier to stomach from a fan’s perspective.
This latest move only adds to the sense of helplessness — and, for many, anger — already permeating throughout non-Warriors fan bases.
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NBA Twitter was on fire after DeMarcus Cousins signed his one-year, $5.3-million deal with the Warriors on Monday night. And while there may have been some logical reasoning on the signing — Cousins is coming off a torn Achilles and didn’t have any real offers — it’s hard to blame NBA fans for failing to be rational.
WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE GUYS.!?? 🤔🤔😂😂😂😂
— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) July 3, 2018
There is certainly a chance that Cousins’ injury prevents him from ever becoming an All-Star center again. But is that really the point? Doesn’t Cousins at 75 percent make the Warriors that much more unbeatable?
The past two Warriors teams have been largely unstoppable. They had arguably two of the top three players in the NBA in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to go alongside two top-15 players in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. And even though the Rockets gave them a major scare in the Western Conference finals, it was hard to believe that the Warriors would not waltz to a second consecutive championship.
The only weakness that Golden State had was the lack of a dominant big man inside — and that wasn’t a huge concern considering how the current game is played. A healthy Cousins now makes them video-game unguardable. No matter what lineup the opposing team puts on the floor, the Warriors will have an answer. There is no room for error on the other side.
It’s not a stretch to say the starting five of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Cousins will be the greatest array of talent the league has ever seen at one time.
The last team to be able to put five players on the floor who were All-Stars in the previous season? Boston in 1975-76, according to @EliasSports
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 3, 2018
For the fans that have found it difficult to enjoy the NBA over the past two seasons, let me warn you — it is probably going to get worse. LeBron James to the Lakers may have given you a tiny bit of hope that someone could challenge the Warriors next season (or at least add some intrigue).
You may have envisioned the Lakers orchestrating a trade for Kawhi Leonard. James and Leonard going up against Curry and Durant? The Warriors would still be heavy favorites of course, but at least the Lakers would have a fighting chance.
Cousins choosing to take a mere $5.3 million to join the “Hamptons Five” eliminates one major element that makes the NBA so great. The level of competition has always been so high. Sure, dynasties emerge, but there is usually a worthy challenger. From the Lakers and Celtics in the 1980s to the Heat and Spurs not so long ago, there is a sense that something crazy could happen in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors have taken away this belief. This is different.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope there is a team in the West that can give the Warriors a run for their money. I hope Brad Stevens can concoct a game plan to challenge the Warriors in an exciting NBA Finals series. Or maybe the 76ers can take another step in their progression. It would be great for the league.
But I don’t think I’m wrong, and that’s a bummer for those waiting to watch another NBA season. Regardless of Cousins’ actual on-court impact, putting him on the greatest team of all time just looks bad. The Warriors have (completely legally) removed competition, replacing it with inevitability — and even the biggest basketball fans must recognize that.
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