In his prime DeMarcus Cousins was one of the most talented and hard-to-defend big men in the NBA.
The accolades speak for themselves: four All-Star nods, two placements on the All-NBA Second Team and a gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games.
Unfortunately, 2018 changed everything. Cousins injured his left Achilles in the final seconds of an otherwise unremarkable outing and had to have season-ending surgery. He was never the same after that.
Over the next four years Cousins would play for five different teams, never participate in more than 31 games in a given season and made just $12 million combined.
At one point before getting hurt he looked like he was gearing up for a $200 million-plus next contract.
Since 2020, Cousins has never started in more than 11 games in a given year
At the moment, Cousins’ NBA future is up in the air. It’s unclear where he will go next. This summer two teams expressed interest in bringing him onboard, but neither has committed thus far.
What may end up helping Cousins’ case is that he has been putting in serious work as of late. The man has undergone a complete body transformation. He looks skinner and stronger than he has in a long time. The results speak for themselves:
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In the past Cousins came with some behavioral concerns. Him viciously condemning his old squad not that long ago was certainly a red flag. But he is in a much different place in his life nowadays.
It’s hard to see Cousins displaying the same brashness now that he used to.
Last season in 31 games for the Denver Nuggets he averaged 8.9 points and 5.7 rebounds over 13.9 minutes per game. Those are solid backup numbers.
Cousins could easily slip into a similar role for the Nuggets once again, or any other contender in the league looking to shore up its middle.
No wonder some players had trouble focusing. https://t.co/w5zutVIaKZ
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 18, 2022
Over in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. recently won his first ever Super Bowl after many years of back-to-back brutal injuries. His career trajectory is sort of similar to Cousins’, even if Cousins was definitely a superior player for a longer period of time in his craft.
Will Cousins get a shot to win an NBA championship at some point before he has to call it quits?
Time will tell.