In the NBA, it’s not always about talent, it’s not always about position and it’s not always about Xs and Os. Sometimes there are players that are known around the league as “third-team players.” Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is definitely that type of player.
A “third-team player” is essentially a player who has trouble with his first couple of teams, but then is able to succeed and realize his potential with his third team. A classic example in the league is Zach Randolph. Randolph was perceived as a troubled guy in his time spent with the Portland Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks. But then, after a brief stint with the Los Angeles Clippers, Randolph was able to find his way with the Memphis Grizzlies.
That sounds a lot like Cousins with the Kings right now. Cousins has had no trouble putting up stats in his two and a half years in Sacramento, averaging 16.2 points and 9.7 rebounds for his career. However, there have been obvious issues.
In regards to his play, Cousins has struggled with his efficiency. After shooting 55.8 percent from the field in college, Cousins has averaged 44.3 percent shooting for his career. This is largely because the Kings let him have free-reign on the floor, shooting jumpers, getting in isolation plays 18-feet from the basket and other things like that when he’s most effective around the rim.
But the bigger issue is with Cousins behavior. Cousins has shown wild amounts of immaturity and a short-fuse in his short career. This, too, is largely due to the way that the Kings have handled him. They have essentially told them that he is their franchise player and that he has authority on the team. For a 19-year-old to be told that basically just gives him an excuse to act like a prima-donna.
All of the problems with Cousins have been fueled by the fact that the Kings are a mess in the general sense. They haven’t had a winning season in the two years that Cousins has been on the team and are on their way to yet another losing season this year as they sit at 19-36. They have no purpose and no set roles, which allows Cousins to act unruly and play inefficiently.
For Cousins to develop into the player that he could potentially be, he has to get out of Sacramento. Skill-wise, he is one of the most talented post-players in the NBA. He just needs the right team for that to be realized. Maybe that’s his third team, maybe that’s his second team. But it’s definitely not the Kings.