DeMarcus Cousins finds trouble in Boston
DeMarcus Cousins messed up. He lost his cool not once, but twice on New Years Eve and the result was his first ejection of the season.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for the 24-year-old center. He has worked tirelessly to rebuild his image, and instead of a powerful dunk over Tyler Zeller playing on SportsCenter’s Top 10, the image of Cousins throwing rookie Marcus Smart to the ground will play into the night.
“The game started off really slow and then I let my emotions get the best of me and let it carry over into that last break and I just can’t do that,” Cousins told media members after Wednesday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. “I got to be smart, got to make better decisions.”
For those around the team, you could see this coming. It was inevitable. The surprise firing Michael Malone has taken its toll on the Sacramento Kings and perhaps no one more than Cousins.
His demeanor has changed over the last few weeks. Bits and pieces of the old DeMarcus are beginning to show as the pressure of losing and discord build.
Somewhere along the way, the relationship between player and coach was overlooked by management. The idea that Cousins was somehow fixed, that he was a completely different person is unrealistic. He has matured greatly, but like anyone, he is who he is.
Malone was Cousins’ guy. The star center had bought in 100 percent to what the raspy-voiced New Yorker was selling and the results were spectacular. The Kings were winning. Cousins was named Western Conference Player of the Week. It was too good to be true.
But Malone is gone now. And the Kings have completely fallen off the map. With every loss, the realization that this season is almost lost is seeping in.
“We got to come together as a team, myself included,” Cousins said. “I’m the leader of this team and I got to get my stuff together as well. These guys depend on me every night and I can’t have games like I had tonight. We got to come together and figure this thing out.”
Those are words of a leader. They are the words of a player that is admitting his mistakes and trying his best to move forward, despite the situation he has been thrust into.
Tossing Smart to the floor may cost Cousins a fine and possibly a suspension. But it may also be the exact thing that wakes him from his slumber.
The Sacramento Kings are in a tailspin. Cousins has lost control of his emotions, and not just momentarily in a game against the Celtics. This is a moment when he can either give in and prove so many right, or he can lift his team from the gutter and become a franchise superstar.
I’m betting that the new and improved DeMarcus Cousins returns sooner rather than later. He has too much on the line and he wants nothing more than to show the world that he has moved past the issues that plagued him early in his career.
Either way, this is a Sacramento Kings issue, not a DeMarcus Cousins issue. This kid has done his part and the people around him have failed him. That is the reality of being an NBA player. Your success is often in the hands of others. The sooner Cousins comes to that realization, the quicker he can get back on track.