1. Cousins can put the ball on the floor
While he will not be confused for Allen Iverson or Kyrie Irving anytime soon, Boogie’s ability to handle the ball far exceeds that of other centers the Rockets have had in the past few years. Watching Clint Capela or Dwight Howard dribble the ball from outside justifiably made Rockets fans sweat when they would see it happen.
Shooting skill and passing ability can only get a player so far if that player is mostly stuck to one place on the floor. Cousins can mobilize himself to different parts of the court since he can adequately put the ball on the floor.
This not only means that Cousins can take weaker defenders off the dribble to score if he has to, but he can also be involved in more complex plays since he is not limited to operating on whatever part of the court he receives the ball initially. The Rockets have had a stagnation problem on the offensive end in past seasons, with many of their forwards and centers being unable to reasonably move once the ball has made it their way.
Cousins is far more mobile than many players his size, which gives the Houston Rockets more fluidity and movement to their offense. It also gives higher-usage players on the team more breathing room, since they can trust Cousins to reliably create his own shot on certain possessions.
DeMarcus Cousins is not a perfect player or even a perfect center. His overall defense is subject to question, he is not the most athletic big man in the league, and his injury history has hampered his game and durability significantly in the past few years.
However, he provides quite a lot of value to the Rockets due to his natural stylistic fit with the team. He is a decent option as a starting center for a team in this league, but he is a fantastic option coming off the bench for this team in particular.
There is little reason to doubt that Christian Wood will deliver in his role as the starting center for the Houston Rockets. However, when he is resting, injured, or not playing well, having a versatile and sizeable presence like DeMarcus Cousins as his substitute is a pretty great deal for the Rockets to have.
Though only one pre-season game is all the evidence we have of Cousins’ potential with this team thus far, the fact that he is still able to immediately perform this way at all after his injuries is a positive sign going forward. Houston fans should be optimistic about Boogie’s potential to thrive in this role on the team.