DeMarcus Cousins accepts challenge to limit technicals

Sacramento Kings starting center DeMarcus Cousins has a laugh on the bench. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

No more than five techs.

That’s DeMarcus Cousins’ goal this season. That’s the challenge that has been issued for the Sacramento Kings starting center and he has eagerly accepted.

Yesterday, Reggie Evans caused a firestorm when he posted a picture of Cousins’ locker room stall to his Instagram page. Taped to the back of Cousins’ locker was a piece of paper that featured the number five printed largely in bold. The caption of the photo read: “Myboi @boogiecousins goal for this year. 5 Technical this season. I feel like he can do it.”

“It was Reggie’s idea to begin with,” Cousins said. “I’m completely fine with it.”

Cousins said his veteran teammate has been pushing him every day in practice ever since the Sacramento Kings tipped off training camp on Saturday. The Sacramento Kings starting center has great respect for the 34-year-old power forward who is entering his 13th season in the league.

“He’s set goals for me,” Cousins said of Evans. “I’ve set goals for him. We’ve set goals for the team. And he told me in order for me to be a better leader, I can’t be getting ejected, getting these technicals because without me on the floor, it’s hard for this team to win games. He challenged me and told me no more than five this year so I’m accepting the challenge.”

Along with Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, Cousins led the NBA in technical fouls last year with 16. In four seasons in the league, Cousins has never gone a full campaign where he’s posted a technical foul count in the single digits. The Sacramento Kings starting center has been among the top five culprits in technical fouls each season since he entered the NBA in 2010.

Following practice Wednesday, Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone said that Cousins isn’t the only player he plans to hold accountable when it comes to drawing the ire of officials. Malone plans on drilling his team to carry themselves in practice the same way they do in games or else face the consequences.

“I told our guys from now on if somebody’s acting up or going too crazy (you’re getting a) technical foul,” Malone said. “And if you get two, you’re gone.

“I’m kind of looking forward to being Joey Crawford a little bit this year, you know what I mean?” Malone added with a smile. “Me and Joey have a lot in common.”

Cousins enjoying presence of veterans from winning cultures

The Sacramento Kings are mired in an eight-year drought of losing and misery. This year’s roster may not be the most talented bunch collectively, but they do have more stable veteran leadership than they’ve had in the past.

Darren Collison and Ryan Hollins have arrived in Sacramento following a tour of duty with the Los Angeles Clippers, a powerhouse franchise in the Western Conference. Their addition along with the presence of other NBA vets like Evans, Carl Landry and Ramon Sessions have brought stability to the locker room that someone like Cousins is grateful for.

“You got guys that know how to win,” the Sacramento Kings starting center said on Wednesday. “You got guys that have roles and are willing to accept their roles. They know what type of player they are and they never go out of their way to be something else. And those are the type of players that we need.”

Cousins said he had lunch with Hollins, Collison and Evans after Tuesday’s practice. They talked about a number of topics with one another, including what the Sacramento Kings need to improve on this year and what the three veterans have seen in past stops.

“It was a good conversation,” Cousins said. “You learned a lot about different situations. You compare it to yours.

“You know, you see how some things are left under the carpet and some things aren’t,” Cousins added with a laugh. “You learn about other players that are praised that shouldn’t be. I mean, it’s good to know those things and you know what type of player you want to be for yourself and to your teammates when having those conversations.”

Cousins embracing role as mentor

DeMarcus Cousins may only be 24, but the Sacramento Kings starting center has plenty of experience under his belt. As one of the more tenured players on the roster, Cousins is embracing his role as an elder statesman.

“I enjoy it,” Cousins said of being a mentor to players like Nik Stauskas, Eric Moreland, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum. “It’s kind of a pleasure to watch guys grow up under you. And it’s even more pleasurable to watch when you have guys that work as hard as those rookies do – and rookies meaning Ben and Ray as well because it’s not the first game yet. So, I mean it’s been a pleasure. They work their butts off. That’s all you can really ask.”

Cousins strongly praised the work ethic of his less experienced teammates. He also noted that they’ve been buying in and taking to heart everything that the coaching staff has asked of them.

“They got a lot to learn,” the Sacramento Kings center said. “It’s always hard for a rookie coming in especially when you’re having a lot of position battles right now. The rookie may be hearing one thing; the returning guy may be hearing another. (But), they’re working and vets seeing that, that’s all we want to see.”

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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.