There’s no question about it, DeMarcus Cousins played a big part in Shaquille O’Neal becoming a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings. For a franchise that doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, Cousins is one of the few bright spots. There’s also no denying that the young big man has yet to play up to his potential during his first three seasons. It’s not a question of talent or physical ability with Cousins, his issues have definitely been of the mental variety.
But many like myself believe that Shaq can get him focused and on the path to greatness. It’s not that Cousins has played poorly during his first three seasons. He’s currently averaging close to a double-double (16.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG). Anyone who watches him for five minutes can see that he’s capable of so much more, but they can also see that he could use an attitude adjustment.
So it’s with the beginning of the new ‘Shaqramento’ era that the Kings have decided to go all in on Cousins. The team is expected to announce a four-year, $62 million extension for the 23-year old. This will keep him in Sacramento through the 2017-18 season.
Some are calling this a crazy move by the Kings, but I like it a lot. They now have someone in O’Neal who can mentor Cousins and give him the proper guidance he needs. That applies to his play on the court, as well as to his behavior on and off it. The Kings are putting a lot of trust into Shaq, but what do they have to lose? Superman has been around basketball and specifically the NBA, for a long time. He knows the formula for success and that’s something that few within the Kings organization can claim.
With the start of this era, the move to double-down on Cousins was really the only option.