Mar 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Kings defeated the Sixers 115-98. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings: Can DeMarcus Cousins Be The Leader Of The Kings?

Most of the Sacramento Kings’ news this offseason has been about Rudy Gay’s player option, whether or not to pay Isaiah Thomas, and who will the Kings draft at No. 8.

It feels like there has been little talk about the team leader in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks, DeMarcus Cousins. No matter what happens to Gay or Thomas, Cousins is now the face of the franchise. He is the player that will take the Kings as far as they will go, and the Kings made the decision to pay him like that type of player.

Before the beginning of last season Sacramento inked Cousins to a four-year, $73 million extension, with the first year of the new deal kicking in for 2014-15.

Cousins’ basketball skills have never been questioned, it has always been his demeanor on and off the court that has people worried. The question with Cousins is can you build a contending team with Cousins as the main piece? We will examine Cousins both on the off the court and see if we can answer this question.

On the Court

Cousins is coming off his best season of his young career, where he was able to raise all his numbers. Offensively he was the best center in the NBA, as he led all centers with 22.7 points per game. He was even able to show his passing ability as he averaged 2.9 assists per game, which was fifth among centers. The biggest difference last season was how well he shot the ball from the field–in his first three years he averaged 45 percent. Last year Cousins shot 50 percent from the field. One reason for the bump could be he only took seven 3-pointers the entire year, compared to 22 the year before, which means his shot selection was much better than in years past.

Defensively, Cousins still is not where you would like a top notch center to be on the defensive end. Cousins led all centers in fouls per game at 3.8, and even was the league leader in this category.

Then you add in the fact that he is 13th among centers in blocks at 1.3 per game. This leads to Cousins being looked at as not good defensively; however, it is not as if he has any help from most of the Kings. This season Cousins did improve on his steals per game and led all centers.

In addition he was able to increase his rebounding average almost two per game from last season.

Furthermore, Cousins had a career high with 53 double-doubles on the season and he was one of few players this season to average 20 points and 10 rebounds. Cousins is on the short list of top centers in the league and his play last season proved it.

Off the Court

Cousins has always been known as a hot head, evidenced by his amount of technical fouls from the start of his career. Last season was especially bad has he had 17 technical fouls, which led the league, and four ejections. This season he was able to cut down the ejections to only one, but again led the league in technical fouls with 16.

Then during the season he was suspended one game for “punching“ Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley during a game. He was also suspended the last game of the season for picking up his 16th technical foul the game before.

It is hard to tell if Cousins can be the leader of a team, he seems to have the fire to want to win, but is that fire misplaced too many times? The thing to remember with Cousins is that he is only 23 years old and already has four years’ experience in the NBA.

Tags: Demarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings

  • Preston Landes

    Some of those technical fouls weren’t technicals at all. Some of those technicals were just earned based off his reputation when he didn’t do anything. If you watched the games this season you would know that he really tried to be better off the court and i think he really did just that! By the way i think he got robbed to be on the All-Star team.

  • John hooks

    @jacob Hammond .Are you retarded.How many time are y’all going to as this question.just cause he has the most tech you think he can’t be a leader.Look at KD he and Griffin hold one of the top tech fouls too.but just want to talk about cousins.Are you.Do you like him that much that you can’t get off his nut cake.always up on cousins

  • Matt Mckinley

    First off, DMC has never had any non-basketball issues OFF THE COURT. All his “issues” have been basketball/on-court related. As to his D, true his is not a great shot blocker, but he has gotten better and he draws more charges than anyone else in the league. To me charges are better than a blocked shot in that you absolutely get possession of the ball.
    Beyond arguing with specific statements I think the overall discussion can be questioned. Does DMC need to be “the” leader of the team? I say no. There have been many good teams whose best and/or highest paid player was not “the” leader. He does need to play smart, play hard, cut down on the techs and ticky-tack fouls but he doesn’t need to be the vocal/emotional leader. If they re-sign IT and achieve some stability/consistency in the line-up it is possible to have other player fill that role. Is it good for DMC to be the leader since he is “the guy” on the team? Yes it is, but not an absolute.
    Lastly, to the other commenters, not need to insult someone for not agreeing with you, especially when many of your statements don’t make sense. And to the writer, you should re-read your material a few times. Lots of grammatical errors, and parts of it are hard to understand, but overall a good article.