Cousins’ Rage Good for Stats, Bad for Kings
The short temper and passion that DeMarcus Cousins possesses are a major part of what make him as tough and talented as he is. Think of it as a bundle package by a television and Internet provider, it’s all-inclusive. You cannot have one without the other. There is no All-Star center without the temper.
Cousins is unstoppable, plain and simple. His physical ability mixed with elusive quickness and soft hands make him more than a nightmare for any defender.
Therefore, teams stop Cousins the only way they know how — by getting under his skin. They cannot physically take his presence out of the game, but they can irk him to the point that he takes himself out.
Statistically, Cousins is a better player when hot. For his career, Cousins averages three points, one rebound and one steal more with a technical foul than he does without, per 36 minutes.
His assists, blocks, and turnovers are also up slightly. But that’s only statistically, and games aren’t won on paper.
What those numbers don’t account for are the points given up on the other end. The technical foul itself results in a free throw and possession for the opponent, often resulting in a three or even four-point swing.
It also doesn’t account for Cousins’ decision making for the rest of the game. Historically, especially in crunch time, an angry Cousins means tougher shots (many of which he is somehow able to make) and less of an effort defensively, replaced by unnecessary reach-in fouls.
Opposing teams know that an angry Cousins usually falls hand in hand with NBA officiating, a whole different element that takes Cousins out of the game mentally.
When he isn’t completely dialed in, the difference in Cousins’ game is noticeable (which statistics don’t properly reflect).
Perhaps the biggest and most important side effect of Cousins’ rage is the effect that it has on his teammates. The team plays significantly better when they don’t have to constantly worry about the temperament of their leader.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to point out how much weight Cousins’ mood carries on the Sacrament Kings’ bench and in the locker room.
The statistical improvement after a technical foul is significant enough to note, but to suggest that it benefits the Kings when Cousins plays with that fire is not accurate at all. There is no denying that it is a major part of what makes him as dominant as he is, but as Sacramento’s season-records over his career suggest, it doesn’t do nearly enough in the win column. That’s what is really important.
[Winning cures everything, even misconceptions of not showing leadership qualities yet, according to Shaquille O’Neal. We broke down O’Neal’s comments on our latest episode of the CK Podcast]