Sunday Musings: Ready to move forward with DeMarcus Cousins
The Sacramento Kings have had a good month of June. No, they haven’t made a trade or figured out a way to sign LeBron James away from the Miami Heat. But because of Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins, they have been in the national spotlight in an otherwise quiet month.
In case you missed it, Cousins made an appearances on ESPN’s SportsNation and Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, while Isaiah Thomas was busy preaching the word of basketball in India. Neither of these moves is going to sell a bunch of tickets or make the Kings a better basketball team. But they gave Sacramento a little bit of exposure during an otherwise dry season.
For Thomas, going to India is an intriguing decision. As an ambassador for the NBA, it makes perfect sense, but he was there representing the Sacramento Kings, a team owned by Vivek Ranadivé, a native of Mumbai, India. Adding to the intrigue, Thomas is a restricted free agent and may not play for Sacramento next season.
Thomas has always been a public relations dream for the Kings. He is a 5-foot-9 dynamo with a smile that lights up a room. In the midst of relocation chaos, he was the lone Kings player to show up at Sacramento City Council meetings to support the team staying local. He puts on camps and, of course, he’s a pizza guy.
Cousins, on the other hand, is a whole different story. He is a private person, who rarely jumps into the public view, unless he is doing so for the wrong reason. We have heard that he is shy or that he is introvert, but that’s not exactly an honest assessment.
We have also seen Cousins buy presents for underprivileged kids dressed as Santa Claus, and he is known to frequent children’s hospitals in his spare time. He is not the malcontent that many believe him to be, at least not all the time.
At 23 years old, Cousins has chosen to go at the media game his own way. He is bright and articulate, but he is also unrelenting in his approach. Up until now, his approach has been questionable at best, although he wouldn’t agree.
Reporters gravitate to Cousins after every game. They don’t write about his trim physique or how he backs his teammates almost to a fault in post-game pressers. They sit back and wait for DeMarcus to be DeMarcus. It’s what sells, and if you can capture Cousins in rare form, it is worth its weight in gold.
I am as guilty as any. After all, it was me who asked Cousins if he would be sending Mike Dunleavy Jr. a Christmas card earlier this season, only to have the big fella speak his mind on the Chicago Bulls forward.
In his defense, I addressed that situation with Cousins after the fact and he was not only fine with the question, he was accountable for the words that came out of his mouth. He says what he means and means what he says.
As the years have gone by, Cousins has become less and less happy with the way he is perceived by the public and even less so by the narrative crafted by the media. But until now, he has been reluctant to address the issue head on.
That is until now. Beating a marching band bass drum while playing one-on-one with Jimmy Kimmel is a great start. Cousins was able to show a bit of himself that he typically hides. He took the ribbing of Marv Albert, as the longtime commentator mocked him for his penchant for leading the league in personal fouls and technicals. He laughed as cousin Sal called a mystery tech. It was an appearance and a roast all poured into one.
Cousins looked like a kid. He looked like was having the time of his life. He looked human.
I, for one, am willing to start over with DeMarcus Cousins. I am willing to hit a reset button and begin anew with the talented young center. But I am willing to do it with a specific caveat.
I will not write about the past, as long as it stays in the past.
That means that the nonsense is done. Suspensions, fines, locker-room skirmishes and foul language sent into the stands are no longer issues that I have to write about. Those items will end today from the vernacular of my writing, as long as I don’t have to go back and use past issues to add context to current issues.
It’s a fair trade. Covering the best young big man in the game should be a treat. Covering a player that averages 22.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 blocks per game, while posting a 26.1 PER, should be something to which you look forward.
We will be at Las Vegas Summer League and with Team USA next month to cover the Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins. The hope is that we will begin to see the charismatic talent that showed up for Jimmy Kimmel.
That individual has a legitimate chance to represent the USA in the World Championships later this year and the Olympics in 2016. He is an NBA All-Star, an All-NBA selection and if his team can win, an MVP candidate.
The past is in the past. It’s time for all of us to move forward.