Three Possible Replacements For Lakers' Center DeMarcus Cousins After His ACL Injury

Three Possible Replacements For Lakers' Center DeMarcus Cousins After His ACL Injury

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Cousins has suffered a torn ACL in his knee and he “will undergo final tests that are expected to confirm the torn ACL diagnosis.”

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explained the severity of Cousins’ injury: “In the past five years, no player has come back from an ACL tear in shorter than 11 months. The past two players to suffer ACL injuries in August (Dante Exum in 2015 and Brandon Knight in 2017) didn’t return until training camp the following year.”

There is no timeline yet and it seems highly unlikely that DeMarcus Cousins will suit up at all for the Lakers this season.

Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup Without DeMarcus Cousins

*Notates expected starter

C: JaVale McGee
PF: Anthony Davis*, Talen Horton-Tucker
SF: Kyle Kuzma*, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jared Dudley
SG: Danny Green*, Troy Daniels, Avery Bradley
PG: LeBron James*, Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso

JaVale McGee gives the Lakers a big man that played at a high level for them last season, averaging 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 22.3 minutes over 75 games (62 starts).

Having McGee and another talented center allows Anthony Davis to be their power forward, the position in which he feels more comfortable and where he can take advantage of his athleticism.

McGee proved that he can get the job done as a starting center but they don’t have Tyson Chandler as his backup anymore and their roster clearly lacks people capable of playing big minutes at center, so they have to turn to the free agent market for help.

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried is an experienced veteran capable of providing quality minutes for a contender. Last year he was productive for the Rockets during the regular season, averaging 12.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 24.4 minutes over 25 games (13 starts) but his playing time decreased in the playoffs and he contributed with just 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 9.3 minutes over six games.

Faried would fit with the Lakers, I actually proposed this at the end of July, way before Cousins got injured and now it makes even more sense for him to join them.

Dwight Howard

The Wizards traded Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies for CJ Miles and Memphis is expected to buy him out. Howard played just nine games for the Wizards last season because of a persistent gluteal injury but he was productive when he was on the court, averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game.

While those numbers may be way below his career averages of 17.4 points and 12.6 rebounds, they are still respectable stats and the Lakers are thin on frontcourt depth. There is nothing linking Howard to any team yet but if healthy, he can contribute. It might seem unlikely because of their history with each other but a potential reunion of Howard and the Lakers kind of makes sense.

Nene Hilario

Nene Hilario is 36 years old but last season he proved that he can still provide quality minutes to an NBA team. Nene averaged just 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.0 minutes over 42 games for the Rockets but that’s exactly what the Lakers would need from him and he would give them a consistent and reliable interior presence off the bench.

There are younger options available with potentially more upside but Nene is a proven veteran and he can produce like last season, playing between 12 and 15 minutes per game as McGee’s backup.

NBA Finals Matchup
(Courtesy of 5Dimes)

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Clippers +803

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers +1010

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Clippers +1080

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers +1345

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets +1545

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets +2045

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors +2600

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers +2625

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Utah Jazz +2675

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers +3225

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Denver Nuggets +3250

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors +3425

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz +3525