When the Sacramento Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth overall pick in 2010, the organization was in a much different place than it is today. The Maloof brothers were flirting with the idea of moving the team to Anaheim, the Kings were second to last in the NBA in attendance, and Paul Westphal was heading into his second year as head coach making a league low $1.5 million per season.
Needless to say, the Kings were in desperate need to sell tickets despite having the reigning Rookie of the Year in Tyreke Evans.
Since, then the Kings have gone through a drastic makeover. With the new ownership led by Vivek Ranadive, new GM Pete D’Alessandro and a no-nonsense head coach in Mike Malone, the Kings are looking to shed the losing culture that has plagued Sacramento since the departure of Rick Adelman.
The next drastic change the Kings need to address is Cousins.
The 6-foot-11 center out of the University of Kentucky is having the best season out of his four-year career. Cousins is averaging over 22.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game — all career highs. He was also on the cusp of making his first All-Star appearance in New Orleans this season. However, all of these facts and statistics are moot considering that the Kings are second to last in the western conference standings — tied with the rebuilding Utah Jazz and only ahead of the injury-prone Los Angeles Lakers.
As great as Cousins might be, he is also not very smart. Lets not forget his several run-ins with former head coach Westphal and Keith Smart. Also, over the last few years, he has been suspended a numerous amount of times. This year is no exception as Cousins was suspended for one game for his Feb. 25 punch on Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley and fined $20,000 for verbally abusing an official.
To make matters worse for the Kings, Cousins is once again leading the league in technical fouls for the second straight season, and subsequently facing a one-game suspension after every other technical. He also leads the NBA in fouls per game at 3.8. Cousins’ antics may fly on a veteran team (see Rasheed Wallace on the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons), but when a loose cannon of a player is on a young and impressionable team, it is a recipe for disaster.
The Kings need to situate themselves with more veteran leadership in order to properly develop players such as Ben McLemore and Isaiah Thomas. The talent and potential of Cousins would be more than enough to trade for established veterans and a number of future draft picks. If D’Alessandro can pull a deal off similar to that and use their picks on hard working players from winning collegiate programs, Sacramento will have a lot to cheer for once again.
Cousins will be a multiple time All-Star someday, and possibly even be in the Hall of Fame when his career is over, but it will never workout for him in Sacramento. If D’Alessandro can’t find any suitors for Cousins during the offseason, it will be nothing but more losing combined with whining, complaining, technicals and fines for Cousins and the Kings.