Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins ranked No. 68 on Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 NBA players list
Cousins is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury with the New Orleans Pelicans, but he was also posting a career-best all-around season with 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game through 48 games in 2017-18.
Boogie was arguably the best center in the league before his unforeseen injury planted the seed of doubt in many front-office executives around the league.
The 6-foot-11, 270-pound big man ultimately resorted to agree to a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the defending champions after no one came calling in the first day of free agency.
Yet all the talk about how the Warriors broke the NBA … all for the 68th-best player in the league?
The ranking (curated by SI’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney) does reflect the injury risk the Warriors are taking on Cousins, who is slated to return around late December or January, but does it do justice for a player who was perhaps the best center in the entire league before he got hurt?
Other centers like Jonas Valanciunas (63rd) and Myles Turner (67th) are ranked before Cousins, making this perhaps a head-scratching position for one of the best physical specimens at the center position.
Sports Illustrated justified the ranking with the following explanation:
Stepping back from the injury-induced whirlwind, it’s worth noting that Cousins’s year-plus stint in New Orleans didn’t provide definitive answers to the major questions that dogged him in Sacramento. Nine seasons in, he still hasn’t played in a playoff game. His raw stats—on part with prime Shaquille O’Neal—haven’t translated to elite team performance. And, at 28, he is still plagued by emotional outbursts and ejections.
Yet Cousins has been ranked in the top four in usage rate during the last five seasons, and it hasn’t been for dire need, but due to his prowess at the offensive end with the Sacramento Kings and Pelicans.
While accounting for this injury should surely reflect a dip in his overall standing, a drop to No. 68 (four spots behind where ESPN ranked an irate Carmelo Anthony last season) could be flat out be considered an insult for a player like Cousins, who has shown signs of effectively recovering from his major injury and is entering his prime years.
Do you feel this rating was fair for DeMarcus Cousins? Join the discussion and tell us in the comments!