DeMarcus Cousins sounds ready to go for the NBA Finals ... at some point.
"It's been a tough week leading up [to The Finals] because I've been working my tail off to get to this point," the Warriors center told ESPN's Marc Spears. "I am healthy enough to play, it's just a matter of when."
Steve Kerr told reporters in Toronto at Wednesday's media availability that the Warriors have not decided if Cousins will suit up for Thursday's Game 1 against the Raptors.
"He's pain-free, so it's really more a matter of rhythym, timing, conditioning, all those things," Kerr said from the Scotiabank Arena podium.. "I think I mentioned the other day, if this were the regular season, I'd throw him out there and he'd play whatever minutes he could tolerate and we'd build him up from there. It's not the regular season, it's The Finals.
"We have to figure out what's the best way to utilize him. ... Some of that will be determined by what's happening in the game, and the other stuff is just internal with our staff."
Cousins tore his left quadriceps muscle in Game 2 of the Warriors' NBA playoff first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers. It was just the second playoff game of his nine-year career after Cousins missed out on a trip to the postseason with the New Orleans Pelicans thanks to a ruptured Achilles' tendon that cost him 43 regular-season and playoff games.
The Warriors officially listed Cousins as questionable for Thursday's Game 1 Monday and Cousins reiterated that status Wednesday.
Cousins evaded an answer to "if it was up to him, would he play in Game 1?" by saying "It is never up to me." But he sounds like a guy who, understandably, wants to be on the court tomorrow night. https://t.co/UNl5W3CwnB— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 29, 2019
DeMarcus Cousins says his official status is questionable for Game 1.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 29, 2019
Golden State could use him against the Toronto Raptors. His offensive skill set is largely unparalleled on the Warriors' center depth chart, and he could take some of the pressure off Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the absence of Kevin Durant.
Of course, Cousins has not played in a month-and-a-half, and it's fair to wonder how effective he will be. If the big man can rediscover his end-of-season form, though, the Warriors will get a big boost in the frontcourt.