Can the Sacramento Kings practice agitating DeMarcus Cousins?

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins stares down the opposition at Sleep Train Arena. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

Throughout his career, DeMarcus Cousins has had trouble controlling his emotions. It’s an issue he acknowledges and it’s an issue he’s trying to actively address.

Kings coach Michael Malone says Cousins is making a concerted effort to find a solution to his emotional lapses.

“He’s trying,” Malone said yesterday of his starting center. “I give him a ton of credit because he’s really trying to contain his emotions and handle it, but it’s a process. Everything about this team is going to be a long process.”

But as he works on managing that part of his personality, teams are still attempting to test his patience. Case and point?: Tuesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, where rookie guard Dennis Schroder agitated Cousins while running around a pick set by the Kings big man.

“I mean I kind of take it as a compliment,” Cousins said of how he feels about teams trying to rattle his composure. “Can’t do it the right way, which is playing basketball, so you take other strategies. So I guess that’s their best way of stopping me, but (I’m just going to) keep playing, keep getting better and like I said, I’m on to the next game.”

Cousins wasn’t able to keep his cool particularly well following Schroder’s low blow. He proceeded to commit a flagrant foul on Hawks big man Al Horford along with picking up two additional personals in the span of a minute. But teammate Greivis Vasquez says that Cousins is willing to admit when he’s at fault in situations like that.

“You know what I like about DeMarcus (that) people don’t know about (him)?” the Kings starting point guard asked rhetorically. “He takes a lot of responsibility. He gets in the locker room (and) when he makes a mistake, he gets up and says, ‘That’s on me.’ And as a man, it takes a lot of cajones, as the Spanish will say, to say that.”

So as the 23-year-old center continues to work on keeping his emotions in check, what can the Kings coaching staff do to help? Perhaps they could bring in a hired gun whose sole purpose is to annoy and frustrate Cousins throughout practice. Yesterday afternoon, I asked coach Malone if he’s ever considered the idea.

But as far as bringing in a little guy that can kind of just jab him the whole practice and piss him off and sees how he handles it, that’s a good idea. I haven’t thought about that one. Maybe it’s me, maybe I could be that guy. So if you see me with a black eye after practice one day, don’t ask me where it came from.

Listen to the extended quote from Malone in the audio player below:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119005875" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.