While we marvel at the longevity of LeBron James and other NBA superstars, for some, resisting father time is a much more complicated and arduous process. We regularly see reality set in far quicker than expected for former All-Stars, setting in motion a cycle of events in relation to a player’s reputation around the league and within media circles.
This process or cycle can be best described as the following:
MVP/All-Star caliber player – form declines (often due to injury) – reputation plummets as a player and/or fans maintain comparison with former self – player enters NBA wilderness and is largely unwanted – player re-establishes mentality towards a newer self – player finds new, albeit lesser role and opportunity – player renews value as an impactful role player – league reputation recovers and value increases.
DeMarcus Cousins could be the NBA’s next great renaissance story
In recent times, think of players like Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard, all of whom became solid role players following uncertain periods. Although they never returned to their All-Star heights, we as fans acknowledged that, and most importantly, they accepted it as well.
DeMarcus Cousins is the next player who, like Rose, Anthony, and Howard, could complete a renaissance story that delivers heartfelt moments for NBA fans.
Cousins’ downfall is one of the saddest stories of the past decade; once the best big man in the league, he’s never been the same since rupturing his Achilles with the Pelicans in 2018. Since then, he’s battled further injuries (including a torn ACL) and moved around the league without ever finding a groove.
At least, that was true before he landed with the Denver Nuggets, who gave Cousins a lifeline by initially signing him to three separate ten-day contracts. Although the Nuggets’ season concluded with a 4-1 loss to the Warriors in the first round, Cousins’ form was an undoubtedly positive and a potential sign of things to come next season.