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Another NBA What if Story



(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the 76-year history of the NBA, a plethora of players have come and gone. Some players' names are synonymous with 'legendary'. Others have short stints of dominance derailed by things out of their control. Derrick Rose and Brandon Roy immediately come to mind. After recently announcing his retirement, we can add Demarcus 'Boogie' Cousins to that list.


Before there was Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, there was Boogie Cousins. Standing at 6'10 and 270 pounds, Boogie was the most dominant center from 2013-2018.


Cursed with an incompetent front office from the moment he was drafted. Selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 5th pick in the 2010 draft. He was dealt a bad hand, that did nothing to hinder his production on the court.


Three seasons later, Cousins would make his first All-Star appearance and All-NBA team. Boogie continued to produce and improve. The Sacramento Kings did the opposite. Boogie would join the conversation of the best big man in the league, but his team did little to help his case.


(Photo Credit: Stat Muse)

In his seven seasons as a King, Cousins dealt with constant coaching turnover and uncompetitive teams. Not one playoff appearance. Something had to give. Something had to change.


That change would come in the form of a mid-season trade sending Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.

After seven seasons of wallowing at the bottom of the league, Boogie was now in a good spot. A spot where he could potentially contend alongside fellow Kentucky wildcat Anthony Davis.


The duo Cousins and Davis wasted no time as they immediately hit the ground running. During Cousins' first season with the Pelicans (2016-2017), he only played 17 games averaging 24 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1 block. Although the 17 games were a short sample size, it was just a preview of what was to come for the following season.


The 2017-2018 season is when Cousins and Davis put the league on notice. Boogie would average 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks. Davis, his partner in crime, put up 28 points, 11 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 2.6 blocks. They had become the best frontcourt in the Association. there was a synergy amongst them that mirrored what Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon had in the 80s.

Finally, Cousins was in a situation where he could win and compete. In a contract season, Boogie's career seemed to be on the up and up. The piece wouldn't titled Another NBA What if Story if everything was picture perfect after this.


After playing 48 games in the 2017-2018 season, Cousins's career changed forever. After missing a free throw with 15 seconds left in the fourth, Cousins would chase after a rebound. That rebound would result in him laying on the floor holding his left Achilles. He had torn his Achilles. A career-altering injury.

This moment would begin a snowball effect of injuries that followed Boogie wherever he went. His next stop after New Orleans was the back-to-back defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Golden State Warriors had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. Boogie signed a one-year $5.3 million and called it a chess move after getting lowballed by teams during his free agency.


For sure, this was an easy championship and shit, and they even made it to the finals again. The injury bug would strike again. This time a quad injury in game 2 of the finals would sideline Boogie again.

Ultimately, the Warriors would fall to the Toronto Raptors due to the injury bug plaguing the team. His chess move came up empty. He was a free agent again, injured again.


After rehabbing from the quad injury, Cousins tore his ACL during the offseason, making him unavailable for the following season.


This ACL injury proved to be the end of his career as he knew it. Setback after setback derailed his career. He went from arguably the best center in the league to a journeyman bouncing from team to team looking for an opportunity. He would get a chance to play for the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Denver Nuggets. At this point in his career, he was damaged goods. His role diminished on each team. His star power dimmed. He no longer moved the needle on the court the way he used to.


The opportunities in the NBA dried up, forcing Boogie to take his talents overseas to Taiwan and Puerto Rico before ultimately calling it quits. As he would say on the Podcast P podcast, "I'll never accept the label that I can't play the game anymore."


What if he stayed healthy throughout his career? What if he was drafted into a better situation? Questions that he probably asks himself when looking back on his career. With no answer, we can only imagine what could have been.



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Sean Chung
Sean Chung
Mar 17

Man was a beast

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