2. Cousins provides size and strength
Last season, following the Clint Capela trade the Houston Rockets only had one option in terms of play style. The lack of a true center meant the Rockets had no choice but to play small-ball, as Tyson Chandler was not a part of the rotation.
While Christian Wood provides the Rockets with more size in terms of length, he does not provide the same level of strength and size that Cousins does. Because Wood is built more similarly to Capela, stronger bigs may cause some trouble for him.
By contrast, Cousins will give the Rockets a way to play bully ball if they believe that would help them win in a particular matchup, whether that be matching the size of an opposing big or taking advantage of a smaller center. The Rockets struggled with some of the league’s bigger teams last season, so having Cousins gives them a better fight against those teams.
It will have to be seen how Cousins performs with his strength on the defensive end, but on the offensive end, he can absolutely be impactful with his size. Friday night saw him demonstrate his size advantage on both ends of the floor against the Bulls, which should give Houston optimism on that front for the future.
His proneness to injury will be something to keep an eye on, but because he is coming off the bench for Wood, concerns surrounding him banging in the paint for too long should be mild. It is unlikely that he will be engaging in highly physical play for upwards of 30 minutes on a given night.
Like the other facets of his game, Cousins’ strength and muscle give the Houston Rockets a higher degree of variability in their approach to both offense and defense.
Next: No. 1