DeMarcus Cousins suffered a tweaked ankle in Saturday night's winning game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that means former Warrior Andrew Bogut's scheduled return to the team was moved up to Monday night.
The 7-foot, 34-year-old Australian last played for the Warriors two and a half years ago, and has been playing in Australia’s National Basketball League ever since. As the Chronicle reports, often going a week between games, the stint has "allowed Bogut to rest his body and rediscover his passion for the game," and Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris flew out to Sydney to meet with him and discuss a return.
Bogut isn't expected to play "major minutes" for the team, per the Chron, but he's instead being seen as "insurance" in the event that Cousins gets injured again, or gets into foul trouble.
Cousins, meanwhile, has been steadily regaining his All-Star form, over the course of his first 20 games with the three-peat-seeking Golden State Warriors. Playing limited minutes early on, due to his returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon, Boogie focused on getting back into shape and in the flow of the Warriors' offensive and defensive schemes. However, when you look at his progression from mid-January to mid-March, the evidence is clear: Cousins is heating up to his former All-Star form:
Cousins' January Stats:
13.8 pts, 6.8 reb, 4 ast, 1.2 stl, 0.7 blk, 46% fg, 76% ft
Cousins' March Stats, thus far:
17.6 pts, 7.2 reb, 3.8 ast, 1.4 stl, 1.8 blk, 52.3% fg, 77.3% ft
Golden State fans can look back at Boogie's effort in Houston, on Wednesday night, as a preview of what they will see come playoff time. In Kevin Durant's absence, the Dubs finally exercised their demons against their 2018 Western Conference Finals opponent, defeating James Harden and the Rockets for the first time this season. The hard-fought 106-104 victory was all the more impressive considering the fact that Houston was at full-strength and had been playing incredibly well of late. Without KD, Steph and Klay are usually looked-to to carry the bulk of the scoring and playmaking burden. Steph may not have had his typical dominating performance, but Klay and DeMarcus more than made up for what was missing.
DeMarcus Cousins, in particular, showed up in a big way and contrary to the lesser-role he had been relegated to for more of the season. He showed that he can still be a go-to option, even for a team that boasts primetime performers like Durant, Steph, and Klay, posting a vintage-Boogie statline: 27 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 11/16 fg, 1/2 3pt, 4/4 ft. That type of all-around performance was commonplace for the former Kentucky Wildcat, back when he was a member of the Sacramento Kings.
If Cousins can approach his average career production, the Warriors will be an incredibly difficult matchup for anyone in the postseason. His 21.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg, and 3.2 apg, along with solid shooting percentages of .460 fg and .738 ft are solid enough to carry a team through the playoffs. This is especially true, considering he's stepped up his defensive intensity, averaging 1.8 blocks and 1.4 steals per game over his last five contests. Dubs fans know the key to their success is their defense, which can be elite when the team focuses and locks-in. Having a quality big man, who can add value to that defensive potential, is a huge boon to a team which has sleep-walked through much of the regular season.