When it comes to quality big men in the NBA, there are a handful that come to mind. Today’s game is about spacing the floor, big men these days are more likely to step out for a mid-range jumper than attack the paint. The Sacramento Kings want the fans to vote for Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas, but it’s their versatile center Sacramento is counting on.
With a sixth double-double to start the season and his second double-double in as many nights, DeMarcus Cousins has to be on everybody’s radar when it comes to the All-Star Game. Outside of Thomas, Cousins is the most productive member of the team proving why he’s an elite big man in the NBA.
That’s something Kevin Garnett alluded to as the Brooklyn Nets shot around at Sleep Train Arena.
“He’s big and strong, and usually when you are that big and strong, you are not supposed to be able to put the ball on the floor or have any type of agility,” Garnett said last week.
That versatility has paid off for the Kings who signed Cousins to a four-year extension during the offseason. Racking up 27 points and 12 rebounds Tuesday, Cousins then followed with 19 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday night. With that kind of production, Cousins should be able earn a spot on the All-Star team representing the West. But Cousins’ maturity — yet to really surface — and his inconsistency — evidenced Wednesday night — shows the full picture. Nevertheless, Cousins leads the Kings and all centers in scoring (21.8 ppg) and ranks second among centers in steals (1.9 per game).
There’s plenty of season left, but Cousins looks like a different player this year. Cousins’ improved scoring numbers are a career best as are his gains in blocks — 1.5 per game, up from 0.9 — and his commitment to staying in games late. Though he still gets into foul trouble, Cousins has matured enough to stay on the court for his team when it matters most.
All-Star selection or not, the maturation and evolution must continue.