The best thing I can do right off the bat is reveal my man-love for DeMarcus Cousins. I will not even try to contain my obvious bias for him. I don’t want to sound like a stalker or anything (note: when you start a sentence like that, it’s never good), but the guy fascinates me. Let me just put it this way: If Cousins ever reads this blog, I may receive a restraining order in the mail.
Since the All-Star Break and obvious Rookie-Sophomore game MVP snub, DeMarcus Cousins struggled mightily. During the five games after the break his averages were: 9.4 points, 8 rebounds, and 4.4 turnovers on 30.6% from the field and 55% from the line. His field goal percentage during the stretch would have made even Brandon Jennings shudder.
With all rookies, the so called “wall” question always gets brought up when they start to struggle near the end of the season. So it makes sense that Kings commentators Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds started to ask if Cousins had as well during his dreadful five game stretch.
I was skeptical, not only because of my man crush for “Boogie,” but because of how he was playing. He didn’t look particularly tired. What he did look like was frustrated. We all know that if things don’t go his way, Cousins has a tendency to force things and play worse.
I saw him forcing passes that had no chance of being completed, taking too many jump shots when it was obvious they weren’t falling, and generally making things much too difficult. It’s been a common theme for Cousins pretty much the whole year, and I think it’s a big reason why he is shooting only 42% from the field this season. Cousins takes difficult shots. A lot of his shots come from one on one play. Less than 30% of his field goals are assisted. That’s about half as much as most big men in the NBA.
Luckily, the past two games Cousins has dispelled any notions of hitting the rookie wall. After probably the worst game of his life against the Clippers, where he had 5 points, 9 rebound, and 6 turnovers on 1-8 shooting and 3-10 from the line, Cousins had one of his best games of the season against the Trailblazers. Cousins dominated with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Most importantly, he shot 10-17 from the field, 8-10 from the line, and only had 1 turnover in 35 minutes.And of course, he flaunted that insane skill set that keeps Kings fans drooling.
The next game, Cousins put up 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 assists against the Jazz in 44 minutes. Granted, his field goal percentage was not good at just 6-18 shooting but he showed the Jazz how much of an immovable object he can be in the paint. He also showed some point guard skills.
Obviously this doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for Cousins the rest of the year, but we can safely say he hasn’t smashed into the rookie wall yet. It’s only two games, but I can forgive five bad games when the guy put up 17 points and 8 boards a game in January. Plus, worn out rookies generally don’t play 35 and 44 minutes and stay as productive as Cousins has been the past two games.