The Cousins Contribution
Cousins is having another dominant statistical year averaging 28.7ppg, 10.4rpg, 3.2apg while chipping in defensively with one swat a game. Solely viewing from a talent perspective, Boogie is a top-5 big man in the league without question. He is leading all big men in real plus-minus (5.45) and ranks second in real plus-minus win contributions (3.68). Cousins’ ability to finish over both shoulders, be the pick and roll man, shoot (out to 24 feet), and deliver in transition makes him a unique animal in the ‘smaller’ NBA. Cousins is currently 5th in the league in points per post up possession at 0.94. It would provide the Blazers with a reliable go to scoring option similar to what they had with LaMarcus Aldridge.
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He is also scoring 1.06 points per possession as the pick and roll man and 1.03 points per spot up possession which would rise considerably when Boogie is integrated within Terry Stotts’ flow offense. Stotts is known to move his bigs around in various spots such as: on and off ball screeners, high and low posts, side actions as well as maintaining a healthy diet of isolations (see: Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki).
"Contrary to league-wide opinion, Cousins is actually no slouch defensively."
The advanced analytics have him as a very solid rim protector. When Cousins is contesting a shot within 6 feet of the rim, opponents are only making 51.9% of their looks. To put this in comparison, Rudy Gobert is at 49.7% and league average is at 60%. This level of rim protection puts him above Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis and it would suit perfectly to Stotts’ conservative pick and roll defensive scheme. The bigs are required to ‘drop down’ in order to protect the rim while the guards fight over the screens, exposing the offensive team to the (lower percentage) mid range shot.
Using the ‘eye-test’, by no means does Cousins always look interested and in his defensive stance (to combat driving guards), but a change of environment could spark new life in the Boogie. The Kings have been known as a dysfunctional franchise where the pieces don’t fit, but a stable team like the Blazers, who have strong chemistry from player 1 to 15 may be what he needs.