Why Boogie Should Come Off Bench!
Making a case for why bringing center DeMarcus Cousins off the bench could be smarter than having him start for the Los Angeles Lakers
DeMarcus Cousins signing a one-year $3.5 million contract with the Lakers inspired hopes of a Big Three with LeBron and AD but Boogie coming off the bench and feasting on second string centers could make more sense.
For one thing, Boogie won’t likely fully recover from his Achilles until next January when it will be a full two years after the injury. Coming off the bench could reduce pressure and give him time to get back in condition. The last thing the Lakers want to see happen is DeMarcus suffering another injury like the left torn quadriceps that occurred in the playoffs with the Warriors when he may have been put in a high pressure situation too soon.
Coming off the bench to start the season would not only allow Boogie to work his way back to playing starter minutes but also allow him to hone his game and regain confidence against other teams’ second string centers. Rather than trying fit in as the third option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis as a starter, he could split minutes being the first option on the bench unit as well as testing playing alongside James and Davis.
Having DeMarcus Cousins coming off the bench would also enable Frank Vogel to start JaVale McGee, a better defender at center, and give LeBron James and Anthony Davis more opportunities with the ball. Starting Avery Bradley, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee could be the Lakers’ best defensive five-some with elite firepower coming off the bench with Kyle Kuzma, Jared Dudley, and DeMarcus Cousins.
Frank Vogel’s a defensive oriented coach who believes defense begins inside-out with strong rim protection so he’s going to want to start Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee, his two best shot blockers. He’s also going to want his best defensive players to start to guard the other team’s best offensive players. That’s why Avery Bradley, Danny Green, and LeBron James will likely comprise the rest of the Lakers’ defensive oriented starting lineup.
It also explains why Vogel will be more comfortable bringing offensive oriented players like Demarcus Cousins, Kyle Kuzma, and Jared Dudley as well as guards like Quinn Cook, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Troy Daniels off the bench where they won’t be facing starting quality defensive or offensive players. Building a defensive oriented starting lineup paired with an offensive oriented bench is solid well-tested rotation strategy.
Bringing Boogie off the bench would also give Vogel time to see how the various pieces he has could best work. It could be that he decides McGee at center is the best way to start games but Cousins is the best way to close. It just makes common sense not to rush Boogie into the starting lineup before he might be ready and to give LeBron and AD as many touches as possible so they can develop a winning chemistry as soon as possible.