Los Angeles Lakers: Should the Lakers have kept DeMarcus Cousins?

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers released DeMarcus Cousins in February and with the NBA season being pushed back, we now have to ask if it was the right move.

The Los Angeles Lakers released DeMarcus Cousins over a month ago and now may wish that they held onto the star center.

They say that hindsight is 20/20 and admittedly, this analysis comes entirely from the viewpoint of hindsight. However, even when Demarcus Cousins was waived, questions were raised as to why he was the player to be released after Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that Cousins would be healthy in time for the playoffs just days before he was let go from the team.

Now, with the league being suspended, it seems as if he would have had ample time to recover and would have been back to playing shape by the time the NBA quarantine was lifted, just in time for the playoffs to begin. I will be discussing three players that could have taken the place of Cousins and analyzing why they would be better choices than Boogie.

Jared Dudley

The first player that the Los Angeles Lakers could have released instead of Demarcus Cousins is Jared Dudley. Dudley is not given much time on the court. He only averages 7.8 minutes a game. Although the team would miss his great three-point shooting, it is very unlikely that Dudley will see any playing time once the playoffs begin.

Opposed to Cousins, who would likely be the teams starting center or first team off the bench. Another thing that would be missed from Dudley would be the chemistry he brings to the locker room. Throughout his entire career, Jared has been someone who can bring a locker room together and team chemistry is one of the most impressive aspects of the Lakers as a team and organization.

However, Cousins is also well-liked by both the team and the front office. Seeing how the team handled his waiving and allowing him to practice with the team and recover with team doctors may hint that he could be making a return to the team next season.

Combining this with the usage he would have on the court even if the playoffs were to occur as scheduled, Cousins simply brings more to the Lakers than Dudley.

Rajon Rondo

The next player that would have benefited the Lakers to waive more than Cousins is Rajon Rondo. While Rondo plays the role of backup point guard and receives more minutes per game than any of the three options, his playtime could be hurting the Lakers more than it helps.

If Rondo were to be waived, it would open minutes for upcoming point guard and fan-favorite Alex Caruso. Caruso simply is more effective with his time on the court and provides more of a spark off of the bench than Rondo.

If he were to be waived instead of Demarcus Cousins it would give the opportunity for Caruso to play his way into solidifying the backup point guard role. On top of this, it would greatly improve the Lakers’ defense.

The only area that would be negatively affected by this move would be the Lakers’ playmaking. However, if Cousins were to have come back with the passing he had preinjury, the drop off in playmaking would be almost noticeable.

Quinn Cook

Quinn Cook is the last player that would have been a beneficial trade-off to waive rather than Boogie. Cook is another player that has not seen much court time on the Los Angeles Lakers. As a result of this, in a strictly on the court sense, he would not be missed as much as the Lakers would miss the presence of a player like Demarcus Cousins in the playoffs.

It is unlikely, barring injury, that Cook will see the floor in meaningful playoff games. This is something that would not be said for Demarcus if he came back healthy.

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Cousins would add on to the interior dominance that the Los Angeles Lakers already had as well as better perimeter player than any center the Lakers currently have on the roster.