I don’t know if Sacramento Kings fans should be excited or worried about this. The Kings have given DeMarcus Cousins a four-year, $62 million extension. The move pretty much tells Cousins that he is the player they will be building around. Does Cousins deserve this though?
Cousins is a very good player; he may even be great. The 23-year-old big man has played three seasons in the NBA and has very solid career numbers. In his three seasons, he is averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. In his most recent season, he averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
The worries people have surrounding Cousins aren’t about his basketball ability; it’s about his attitude. He has had several occasions where his emotions have gotten the best of him. Last season, he got into trouble on three separate occasions. On November 9, Cousins was suspended two games for confronting San Antonio Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner. On December 10, Cousins struck Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo in the groin, leading to a one-game suspension. On December 22, Cousins was suspended again for one game for what the Kings called “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team” after an incident involving Keith Smart, the Kings’ coach at the time.
People seem to think everything will be fine with Cousins because Shaquille O’Neal is now a minority owner of the Kings. O’Neal has said he will become Cousins’ mentor because O’Neal says he “sees a young Shaquille O’Neal. Very talented, very stubborn in his ways.” O’Neal can try his best to help Cousins, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.
The Kings would have been better off trading Cousins to a contender that has veterans that can show him how to be a professional. If they would have traded him, the Kings could have gotten decent value in return. Cousins is being forced into the position of team-leader with the Kings; that is something he doesn’t appear to be capable of doing.