TORONTO (CBS SF) — Injured Golden State Warriors star DeMarcus Cousins will get his wish Thursday to play in a NBA Finals.
Head coach Steve Kerr announced that Cousins would dress for Game One of the Finals, but did not give any indication how many minutes he would play. The flow of the game will dictate that.READ MORE: New Facebook Whistleblower Says Executives Shrugged as Algorithm Stoked Hate, Misinformation
Cousins has scrimmaged with the team a couple times over the last week, has been working on his conditioning drills for even longer and is pain-free.
“DeMarcus has done an amazing job coming back from an injury we felt at the time was season-ending,” Kerr said. “It’s (his return and impact) more a matter of rhythm, timing and conditioning. I think I mentioned the other day if this were the regular season, I would throw him out there, and he would play whatever minutes he could tolerate and build him up from there.”
“It’s not the regular season, it’s the Finals. So we have to figure what is the best way to utilize him. How many minutes he can play. What the game feels like. What the matchups are like. So some of that will be determined by what’s happening in the game and the other stuff will be internal to our staff.”
Cousins, who returned from a torn Achilles mid-way through the regular season, averaged 16.3 points and 8.32 rebounds in the 30 regular season games he appeared in. He should benefit from matching up against Toronto center Marc Gasol, who is not known for his quick moves to the basketball.READ MORE: CDC Approves Wide Range of Options for COVID Boosters
The veteran’s return will also added much needed depth to the Warriors center position. Since his injury, playing time has been shared by Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Jordan Bell and Kevin Looney.
Cousins hasn’t played in a game in 6-and-a-half weeks and has played less than a game and a half in the playoffs during his career.
“When you talk about DeMarcus, he’s someone who has been great in this league for years,” Green said. “He’s probably played basketball in 16 of the last 19 months. That right there alone is a challenge. Then you start to talk playoff experience where you and I both know that the intensity level is completely different than a regular season game and he doesn’t have much playoff experience.”
“Then you get dropped into an NBA Finals. It’s kind of like some kid who grew up in the suburbs going to a private school and then one day, you just got dropped into the hood and was told to survive…It’s very similar. In saying that if you are that kid who is dropped into the hood what do you revert to? You just revert to what you know. You do whatever it is you know, you just try to do that to survive.”MORE NEWS: Climate Change Disrupting Natural Cycles at Drier Lake Tahoe
“One thing we do know is DeMarcus is a great basketball player. So you just go out there and do what you’re great at and everything else will fall in line. But it’s also on us…It’s on us as his teammates to help pull him through. To get whatever we can out of him to help make us a better team.”