The Differences and Similarities Between DeMarcus Cousins and Rasheed Wallace

Over the last few years we’ve seen DeMarcus Cousins become one of the most dominant players in the NBA. Statistically, every year he’s gotten a little bit better and is now one of the most unstoppable big men in the game. So far, Cousins has racked up two All-Star nominations, two All-NBA teams and an Olympic gold medal.

With that being said, he’s also one of the most polarizing players in the league. He’s polarizing with the media, he’s polarizing with other players and he’s polarizing with the referees. Who does that remind you of? Rasheed Wallace.

You remember Rasheed Wallace, right? If you don’t here’s a few videos that will help with a refresher course. One video shows you the polarizing aspects of Wallace and one that shows you the talented player.

The one thing that most people remember about Wallace was his mouth and, more specifically, the technical fouls that it led to. Wallace had over 300 technical fouls in his career. That’s a mark that probably won’t be beaten simply because since the 2006-07 NBA season, once you get over 16 you’re suspended for the next game.

By the way, Wallace went over that 16 technical fouls mark nine times in his career with the worst instance coming in 2001 when he received 41 technical fouls.

There may be no better example of this than from the 2000 Western Conference Finals. Wallace got a technical foul simply from staring at a referee. Oh, you don’t believe me? Here, take a look.

So how many does Cousins have? Right now, in a little over six seasons (439 games), Cousins has 98. That’s an average of one technical every 4.5 games.

To be fair, Wallace averaged a technical foul every 3.0 games but, like I said, the rules for techs are different now.

However, the comparisons don’t stop there. In college, both Wallace and Cousins were selected consensus second-team All-Americans at highly ranked schools.

When Wallace played at North Carolina he averaged 16.6 points and 8.2 rebounds before entering the draft. When Cousins was at Kentucky he averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. Both advanced to at least the elite eight in the final years in college and both of them were selected in the top five of the NBA Draft.


Even after they made it to the NBA, they’re style of play matched up. So far in his NBA career, Cousins has made (122) 3-pointers. Through Wallace’s first 439 games he made (139).

As far as points and rebounds go, Cousins has the edge with 20.6 points and 10.8 rebounds while Wallace averaged 15.2 points 6.5 rebounds.

The biggest difference comes in the form of playoff appearances. By the time Wallace was entering his seventh year in the NBA, he had already played in 40 playoff games and was a game away from making it to the NBA Finals in 2000.

For Cousins, he still hasn’t finished a season with more than 33 wins, much less ever coming close to a playoff run. Maybe that’s his fault and maybe it’s not, but it’s something that needs to be corrected.

To further illustrate the comparison between the two take a look at the videos below. You can see here all of the things that Wallace could do on a basketball court. He could hit a fade away shot, he had post moves, he could drive to the basket and he could make a catch and shoot shot from beyond the arc. Wallace was multidimensional. That’s exactly how Cousins plays now.

(Side note: *Cousins has an inside game that is dominant and is second to none currently in the NBA).

Go to 3:42 of Cousins’ video and go 20 seconds into the Wallace Video. It’s the same play. The same thing happens when you go to 2:12 of Wallace’s video and 1:38 of Cousins’ video when they show off their touch fading away. Their styles are very similar and so are their tempers.

Wallace never broke the stigma of a hothead getting ejected from a game with 1:14 still to play in the first quarter.

Odds are, like Wallace, Cousins will never fully break the hothead stigma but if he can start making a playoff run or two then maybe those accusations get a little bit quieter. After all, it’s the only thing missing from the comparison.

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Anthony Bertacchi on Twitter
Anthony Bertacchi
Special Contributor to Cowbell Kingdom and a proud Sacramento State Alum.

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