A ‘Webber-Like’ DeMarcus Cousins is Already a Superstar


Forget about DeMarcus Cousins making his first All-Star appearance this season.

In my mind, that goal is beneath him.

Anyone that’s had the pleasure of watching Cousins on a nightly basis knows the big man from Kentucky is already an All-Star caliber talent.

He set career records in points (1614), rebounds (831), blocks (91), assists (207), steals (109), and free throws made (432) last season. His 22.7 points per game lead all NBA centers.

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Coming into the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins drew comparisons to Zach Randolph and Larry Sanders. The correlations are easy to follow, but for me, Cousins’s game has always resembled that of a hometown hero: Kings’ legendary power forward, Chris Webber.

The similarities between Cousins and Webber are endless.

Both Cousins and Webber have incredible hands. Catching balls in traffic, passing from the post, and grabbing rebounds over defenders is second-nature for each player.

Also, both are controversial figures. Webber was involved in the Ed Martin scandal while attending the University of Michigan. The ‘Fab Five’ revolutionized NCAA Basketball, but the scandal casts a dark shadow over Webber’s otherwise peerless reputation. Webber was a misguided youth, but has since evolved into an exemplary member of the NBA fraternity who spends gobs of money and time on charity.

Cousins – known primarily for his on-the-court antics – was ‘exposed’ by Asia Giselle Monroe in 2012. The content isn’t worth linking to, but let’s just say that Cousins was caught with his pants down.

Webber’s Head Coach, Rick Adelman, used him in a multitude of ways on offense. In a manner atypical to NBA form, Adelman shifted Webber from the post to the top of the key throughout the duration of a game. Webber, like Cousins, had excellent court awareness and the ability to run the offense from any spot on the court.

The result was an unselfish Kings team that produced some of the most exciting offenses in NBA history. Webber was surrounded by talent, but was ultimately the face of a resurgent franchise that captured the hearts of Sacramentans.

Today’s Kings are mired within eight-straight losing seasons. Their owner, Vivek Ranadive, wants to win now. This will be a difficult task for Head Coach Michael Malone to accomplish, but with Cousins, the battle can be won.

Malone wants the Kings to push the tempo on offense this season; it’s unknown if this change will be for better or worse. What we do know, however, is that Cousins will be the focal point of this paradigm shift and will either lead it to prosperity or fail miserably. No pressure on Cousins, but he is being asked to govern a turnaround just like Webber did in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s.

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There are a ton of similarities between Webber and Cousins, but there are differences, the biggest being their accomplishments (or lack thereof) in the league.

Webber didn’t win a Championship in Sacramento (three words: Shaq and Kobe), but the level of play he oversaw will live in the annals of NBA history. Today’s NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs, play selfless ball reminiscent of the Webber-lead Kings.

Since Cousins was drafted fifth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Kings have failed to win more than 28 games in a season.

Quite the disparity, but that’s about to change.

Cousins has the ability – more importantly, the chance – to create a brand of basketball in Sacramento that will yield comparisons to the great Webber.

Regardless of the expectations that Cousins will shoulder this season, he’s got the NBA right where he wants it.

Playing in Sacramento has its benefits. It’s a small market (just the state’s sixth most populated city) that avoids the spotlight due to its lack of nationwide popularity. If you’re a young and talented player who wants to mold into a superstar in a pressure-free environment, there’s no better place to play.

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While Cousins doesn’t have a max contract or lofty endorsements, he’s developed – quietly – into one of the game’s best without interference from the media. He still has the occasional on-court tantrum, but has largely corralled his once detrimental energy and turned it into a positive force.

And what a force it has become.

When juxtaposed to other ‘superstars,’ Cousins is miles ahead.

Take Carmelo Anthony for example. Anthony considers himself underrated, but for what reason? He’s never averaged four assists per game over a season and jacks up more shots than anybody in the league. He’s a wonderful talent – not to mention a perennial All-Star – but is he really a superstar?

The stats show that Cousins, not Anthony, is the real superstar.

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Per 100 possessions last season, Cousins averaged 26.4 field goal attempts, 35.7 points, 18.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. Anthony averaged 29.3 field goal attempts, 37.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.

Anthony finished sixth in All-Star voting last season with 935, 702 votes. Cousins missed the All-Star gala with just 255,005 votes. I have no quarrels with Andre Iguodala, but he didn’t deserve more votes than Cousins last year.

This is being called the year the NBA’ falls in love with Cousins.’

I say welcome to the party.