DeMarcus Cousins is a big baby.
This may seem like a harsh statement to make about a grown man not named Glen Davis, but to fans who regularly watch the talented Sacramento Kings big man, it may be the first thing that comes to mind. Cousins, a 6’11, 270 lb beast of a man, was the 5th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Since then he has blossomed into one of the league’s top big men, being named to the All-NBA Rookie Team in his first season and improving every year. As of this writing he is averaging 17 points, 10 rebounds and nearly 3 assists so far in the 2012-13 NBA season. Imagine a large bear-like man, with nimble feet, good hands, and a soft touch around the basket. Add in a fiery temperament and you get DeMarcus Cousins. Its not a stretch to say that multiple All-Star appearances are around the corner.
However for all of Cousins statistical successes, he’s had some major issues since entering the league. Among other things he fought with a teammate on the team plane, was sent home after he demanded a trade, was suspended by the NBA after he confronted an opposing teams commentator after a game (wtf?), was suspended by the NBA after blatantly punching Mavericks guard OJ Mayo in the groin, and most recently, was suspended by the team after having a verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart.
Cousins also recently dropped 21 & 14, 18 & 16 and then 31 & 20 (!) on the Pistons, Cavaliers, and Raptors respectively. And this is why, for all of Cousins faults, he is constantly given a pass. Given the nickname ‘Bad Attitude’ at a summer pro-am league by an astute observer, Cousins is the epitome of the spoiled, self centered NBA athlete. Instead of being given the counselling and discipline he deserves, Cousins has managed to walk away time and time again with light slaps on the wrist. Its understandable that the Kings, a franchise constantly flirting with relocation and mismanagement by the Maloof brothers, might want to go easy on their franchise player. Franchise big men are notoriously hard to come by in the NBA, and a player of Cousins’ calibre hasn’t been seen in Sactown since Chris Webber. If the Kings are going to do anything significant any time soon a guy like Cousins is going to be a big reason why.
But somebody, somewhere has to draw the line. At some point, Cousins’ antics are going to be too much for any team to handle, too much to overlook even for an All-Star caliber center. Already, there are signs that patience is wearing thin. When he returned to the team after the lastest incident and apologized to his peers, two of his teammates reportedly stood up and told him that they “heard this bull**** before”. Add in USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo’s comments last summer about Cousins needing to grow up and “mature as a person” before being considered for the US Senior Men’s basketball team, and you get the picture that Cousins has rubbed many of his peers and other insiders in the industry the wrong way.
Not long ago Cousins fired his agent and set off a whirlwind of trade rumors. Despite all of his faults, his enormous talent is extremely enticing to a league suffering from a lack of quality big men. Whether the Kings keep him or eventually decide to pull the trigger and trade him elsewhere, eventually somebody is going to have to stand their ground and give him some tough love.