Evaluating DeMarcus Cousins’ Suitability for Heat in 21
DeMarcus Cousins was released from the Houston Rockets a week ago after his salary for the 2020-2021 season was guaranteed by the team. The Rockets decided to guarantee his salary first before releasing him due to his exceptional behavior while in Houston.
The heat has has long shown interest in cousins and chased him through the 2019 offseason before he tore up his ACL, but would they be interested now that he’s a free agent again? According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat are do their due diligence with a lot of great men and might be interested in Cousins.
While he may not be the destructive force he was with the Kings and Pelicans, he still shows that he can make it happen and play exceptional basketball at times. If his behavior in Houston is also true, it would be great for the team if he was willing to accept a contract.
Cousins offensive cut on the heat
Cousins has averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 25 games with the Houston Rockets this season. Boogie shot a career low of 37.6% from the field, which is well below his previous career low of 43.0% in his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings.
However, Cousins shoots 33.6% from the three-point line. It would be his third best performance beyond the arc in his 10th season. While the numbers aren’t very good compared to other big stretches, it’s still a reasonable efficiency, which could improve in the Miami Heat’s system.
A sharp drop in his field goal percentage is most likely contributing to the number of triplets Cousins throws up every night. Cousins shot 55.2% of his attempts over the arc when he was with the Rockets. This far surpasses his previous career record, which averaged 34.0% with the Pelicans.
If we compare him to Miami’s current big stretch, Kelly Olynyk, the stats will show Cousins is a better three-point shooter this season. The 29-year-old shoots 43.0% from the field, but he only achieves 31.6% of his shots from the arc.
While that’s not a big margin for Cousins, it still shows that he can be decent on offense for the Heat. Olynyk shoots 67.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, and it would be a career high if the season ended today.
Cousins also attempts 4.6 lines per game, while Olynyk attempts 5.8 per game. The 30-year-old center shoots better with fewer shots. However, the cousins would most likely come off the bench from the Heat like Bam Adebayo down center, and they don’t have another reliable big on the bench.
When Tyler Herro was sidelined with injuries, Goran Dragic was the only reliable shooter to come off the bench. The cousins could help score the basketball if they decide to keep Olynyk in the top five.
What would Cousins bring on the defensive?
Cousins isn’t the greatest defender, but he can always defend himself when needed. Cousins had a defensive rating of 106.3 over the Houston Rockets, who would tie for third with Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent.
Sometimes offensive and defensive scores can be skewed due to the team’s performance, and that could be the case with Cousins since his opponents are shooting 48.3% against him. Coincidentally, the regular shooting percentage of the other players is also at 48.3%, which would not be terrible for him.
Cousins is averaging 13.6 rebounds every 36 minutes this year, which would be a huge boost for Miami’s rebound problems. The Heat ranks 28th in the league with 42.4 rebounds per game. It would be a boon for their only internal defense.
That doesn’t imply Cousins would be stellar defensively. His injuries have slowed him down, and there may be an argument that he’s statically good defensively, but the eye test shows he struggles at times.
The question the Heat will need to ask is whether it is worth using the $ 4.7 million exception for disabled players on Cousins. The trade deadline is almost three weeks away, and there will be players in the buyout market afterwards.
There might be better options who would be willing to come to Miami for a higher salary than some of the other contenders. They’ve just come out of an NBA Finals and look exceptional with Jimmy Butler back in the mix.
However, if they decide that Cousins would be a good option, they should definitely reach out to him and give him a contract. He would be a great piece on the bench and give them another great reliable man besides rookie Precious Achiuwa.