This is a question that really got me thinking. Ever since the Sacramento Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, analysts have had their doubts.
When you take a look at his on-court performance, there’s no question that he’s a stud. He’s mean and physical down on the block, and he sure knows to rebound the ball. He’s aggressive and does the dirty work down low.
But that’s not what gets questioned about him.
What usually stands about Cousins is his poor attitude and immature behavior. And to give you a perfect example, take a look at December 21, 2010 when the Sacramento Kings hosted the Golden State Warriors. The Kings were up by five points with just 19 seconds remaining in the game, and Warriors’ guard Reggie Williams had just missed his first of two free throw attempts. With that miss, DeMarcus Cousins did a little taunting, as he took a few steps out of the lane and made a choking gesture (you know, the one that Reggie Miller is so famous for). It was a disgust to watch, and even worse for the Kings, as the Warriors ended up pulling through for the overtime victory (thanks to a clutch Vladimir Radmanovic three pointer) . Talk about karma.
Cousins was later fined and benched for his disrespectful gesture.
And it goes beyond that incident. When head coach Paul Westphal was fired, much of the media was reporting that it was due to several disagreements and arguments with their young center. Keith Smart was promoted to head coach and it seems that DeMarcus Cousins and him have been getting along good so far.
It’s because of incidents like those that many people have their doubts about him. Again, number-wise, not many people will debate. During his rookie season, he put up 14.1 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Building on to that, his sophomore season featured an expansion of his game, as well as an increase in numbers. His stats improved to 18.1 PPG and 10.9 RPG last season. He doesn’t have much talent around him, so this upcoming season could be a breakout year for him, as he will be the primary option on the team.
And so I will wrap it up with this last thought about DeMarcus Cousins. While many people still aren’t sold on him, I am. I believe he has the potential to become a force in the NBA, maybe even similar to Andrew Bynum. Cousins has the size, physicality, and skill set to achieve greatness. Hopefully, he will be able to keep his head straight and improve on a consistent basis until he reaches stardom. Ironically, Andrew Bynum has had his fair share of attitude problems and immature behavior, but that’s a whole other story.