It is no secret that DeMarcus Cousins is on a roll and it couldn’t come at a better time. With All-Star selections just around the corner, the former Kentucky star is making a strong bid for one of the highly sought after forward spots on the Western Conference squad.
On Sunday evening, Cousins set a new Sacramento-era record for most consecutive double-doubles, surpassing the previous mark of 13 set by LaSalle Thompson during the Kings inaugural season in Sacramento. He also established a new NBA season-high, besting the previous mark set by Chris Paul and Kevin Love. For the first time in his four-year career, Cousins has found consistency, if not greatness.
It takes more than one player to ascend to the level that Cousins is currently achieving. The addition of Rudy Gay 19 games ago has opened up the court for Cousins, as has the improvement of third-year point guard Isaiah Thomas. Derrick Williams has added another weapon for the Kings, and Jason Thompson is playing extremely well.
But Cousins’ name is the one that will go down in the record book. He is the star of the 2013-14 Sacramento Kings team and his development on the court has been nothing short of spectacular.
I’m not sure that a double-double streak means much in the grand scheme of things, but it does show that Cousins is finally living up to his incredible potential. It also shows that he is staying on the court long enough to score in double figures and grab double figure rebounds, something that he has not been able to do in the past due to his penchant for getting in foul trouble.
The raw numbers during the streak are mostly impressive. Cousins is averaging 23.9 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in 35.2 minutes per game. More importantly, the Sacramento Kings are 7-7 during the 14 game stretch.
14 games is a small sample size, but that doesn’t make the data completely irrelevant. A further look into the stats show a couple of interesting developments that both Cousins and coach Michael Malone should be aware of.
In the Kings’ seven wins during the streak, Cousins’ usage rate is 26.8. That number jumps to 33.6 in the Kings’ seven losses. As his usage rate increases, Cousins’ assist percentage drops and so does his field goal percentage. In the seven losses, Cousins’ assist rate is 9.8 percent, versus 12.7 percent in the seven wins and his field goal percentage goes from 48.4 percent in the wins, to 44.1 percent in the losses.
The stats continue to show interesting trends. In the seven wins, Cousins averages 21.9 points per game and he runs a +/- of +6. In the Kings’ losses, Cousins averages 25.9 points, but runs a -5.6 in the +/- category.
Lastly, in the Kings’ seven wins, Cousins has a defensive rating of 99.4 and in the seven losses, that number skyrockets to 111.6.
These numbers can mean nothing, or they can lay out a map for success for the Kings going forward. The stats appear to show that the Kings are a better team when Cousins shoots slightly less, distributes the ball more and of course, they are better when the big fella plays defense.
Regardless of the streak, Sacramento needs the same consistent effort from Cousins the rest of the season. The 23-year-old center is putting up All-Star numbers and he needs to continue to do so if the Kings hope to improve on last season’s win total of 28.
Cousins has proven he can drop a double-double on any team in the league. He has proven that he is one of the best big men in the league. Now it’s time to convert individual success into team success.
Statistical support for this article provided by NBA Media Central.