Taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 5th pick in the 2010 draft, DeMarcus Cousins was once known around the league for something other than his play on the court. He was known for being a nutcase. He was seen to many as lazy, unhappy, unmotivated and immature. He was suspended by his own team due to a fight with Donte Greene, he was constantly booed by fans due to his low basketball-IQ and he’d let his frustration out on the opponents with stupid flagrant fouls.
If you went through YouTube with the keywords “DeMarcus Cousins immature” or “DeMarcus Cousins ejection“, you’d sure find multiple videos of him performing stupid moves. These range from being about the referees, other players, or even Spurs announcer Sean Elliott.
But don’t worry DeMarcus, not even Timmy D likes Sean Elliott.
Now, in 2013, instead of questioning DeMarcus as “clueless” and “stupid”, we are left to ask ourselves with this question.
Is DeMarcus Cousins worthy of an All-Star appearance?
Out with the old, in with the new
“Actually this is my first one” – DeMarcus Cousins, upon being asked about new coach Michael Malone’s offense, Cousins says this new Kings offense is his first
“When I took this job, out of fairness to DeMarcus, I wanted to start with a clean slate. I wasn’t around for some of those experiences he had in the past. I wanted to give him the opportunity to show me who he is. In my first conversation with him, he said two things. He said he hated to lose and that he was coachable. To his credit — and I know it’s early in the season, and who knows what tomorrow brings — he has been coachable and has been a leader” – Michael Malone, don’t blame Sacramento struggles on Cousins
Sacramento’s new head coach Michael Malone is the most important factor in DeMarcus’s success. Malone is not a pushover, like his previous coaches in Keith Smart and Paul Westphal have been, and demands respect from his players. Boogie has responded well to Malone and his system, which is a credit to him after all the struggle he has gone through in his previous 3 seasons. In 32.4 minutes per game, DMC is scoring 23.5 points per game, grabbing 11.6 rebounds and 3 assists.
If that wasn’t enough for you stats wise to make an a #NBABallot vote on DeMarcus, then what about the following. He has his highest career offensive and defensive rating, being 109 and 101 respectively. His rebounding rate per game puts him at 5th in the league, he ranks at an unbelievable 8th in steals per game (1.9) and he’s ranked 12th in win shares per 48 minutes (.187).
But wait, here’s the most impressive part about DeMarcus’s season.
He is ranked third in the Player Efficiency Rating this season, with a PER of 27.6. The only two players ranked above him? LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Enough with the general statistics, but how has DeMarcus improved on each side of the floor to warrant an All-Star nod?
DeMarcus was frequently killed by analysts for his lack of defense. Even though it’s still not the most amazing thing you’ll ever see, it’s still terrific. Especially this season.
His defensive rating is at 101, bettering his former best by 3 points. He is averaging 1.9 steals and 1 block per game, which are both career highs for him.
When DeMarcus is off the court on offense, the team scores 2.8 points less per 100 possessions. When he is the off the court on defense, the Kings are allowing 1.9 points more. Sacramento also loses 1.6% of the total rebounding percentage while DMC takes a break.
The most impressive thing about Cousins’ improved defense this season, is his points allowed per possession.
DeMarcus is holding opponents to .84 points per possessions defended, a stat which puts him at the same level as Golden State center Andrew Bogut, while allowing fewer points per possession than Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard.
This is the one side of the floor where Cousins has truly excelled consistently. While that has been no different this season, he’s gotten even better.
DeMarcus’s 23.5 points and 49.1% shooting are career highs for him. The 109 offensive that he is carrying is another career high. His 3.1 assists are another career high for him.
Boogie possesses a terrific inside/outside game, that has contributed to his massive year. DeMarcus shoots at an above-average level from the left side of the key, while he also excels with his shooting at the elbow. The ability to knock down an outside shot is important for Cousins, as he forces his opponents to challenge him on the outside. DMC has a tremendous ability to handle the ball for a man of his size to dribble the ball, and he uses this to effect in making easy buckets at the rim.
An underestimated aspect to DeMarcus’s game this season is his passing ability. This is something that may push him over the edge when it comes to an All-Star spot. He currently ranks 4th in assists for centers, only behind Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Spencer Hawes. None of whom will be giving Cousins a hard gig when it comes down to those final spots. Not only can he find gaps in the defense with his passing game, he can perform passes that make him look like a true-blue point guard.
Head to Head against Hibbert and Howard
These two players are arguably the best centers in each conference respectively.
For Cousins to make the All-Star team, he would need to be able to perform against the best. Currently this season, he is doing so.
December 15 vs Dwight Howard
DeMarcus Cousins: 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 50% FG
Dwight Howard: 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 57% FG
December 31 vs Dwight Howard
DeMarcus Cousins: 17 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 54% FG
Dwight Howard: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 55% FG, 5/11 FT
January 14 vs Roy Hibbert
DeMarcus Cousins: 31 points, 13 rebounds, 6 offensive rebounds, 2 steals, 57% FG
Roy Hibbert: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 50% shooting
DeMarcus has excelled playing against top-tier competition, so this should only strengthen his case for an All-Star bid.
DeMarcus Cousins is a force in this league. He can defend, he can score, he can pass, he can protect the ring. Simply put it, he can do it all. The “full package”, as one would call it,. The fact that Boogie has resorted to demanding votes out of India and making a comical sketch with Kevin Johnson to earn votes is laughable.
The fact that Boogie is 11th in frontcourt voting proves that the fan voting process is flawed. Not only is he behind players like Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin and Dirk, who are good players in their own right, they just aren’t having the season DeMarcus is having.
Playing on a losing team might hinder his ability to make the squad, but I have full fledged confidence in the coaches who decide the bench players to denote DeMarcus as one of the top front-court players in the Western Conference.
All-Star voting in largely led by players who find themselves in bigger markets (Pau Gasol). Thanks to DMC being stuck in Sacramento, he’s less likely to bring in the media exposure that players in Los Angeles would receive. The NBA need to make steps in order to limit the ability that fans have, because, lets face it. Jeremy Lin doesn’t deserve a gig in the game. If fans only recieved 50% of the starter vote, not only would the opportunity to showcase your talents in the game be balanced, guys like Cousins will be rewarded for stellar seasons to date, instead of being known as a snub.
One thing is for sure, Boogie deserves the trip to New Orleans.
Is DeMarcus worthy of a trip to New Orleans? Is he even one of the better NBA centers in the modern league?
Let me know what you think below.