The Sacramento Kings officially have themselves a franchise player.
Despite losing to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, Cousins had one of the best games of his life. He finished the game with a monster 41 points and 12 rebounds.
To clarify what Cousins did, LeBron James' season high this year is also 41 points. Blake Griffin's season high is 34 points. LaMarcus Aldridge's high is 39 points.
Cousins has such a rare blend of speed and power. Everyone knew he was talented. When critics try to pick his game apart, they always point to his immature attitude. Cousins has finally showed some maturity. He's beginning to understand the responsibility of being a franchise player.
Cousins has improved significantly from his rookie season. He finally has a coach that understands him and a point guard who can get him the ball in spots to be successful.
Part of Cousins' development will depend on the players management puts around him. The Kings struck gold with Isaiah Thomas, the last pick in the entire 2011 NBA draft. Terrence Williams, who the Kings signed for the remainder of the season, has been more than a pleasant surprise. The Kings need to figure out what to do with former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. His talent is evident, but he's inconsistent and can be a ball stopper. Evans can co-exist with Cousins. He just needs to understand that due to his subpar play, he's no longer the team's centerpiece player.
The crazy part about Cousins' recent surge is he's only a second year player. Most players make the leap from young upstart to all-star in their third year. Derrick Rose won the MVP in his third year. Kevin Durant averaged 30 points per game in his third year.
Will DeMarcus Cousins make the All-Star game next year?
Cousins will go into next season as the Kings' alpha dog player. He no longer has to worry about a coach who doesn't believe in him or a flawed player taking the majority of the shots. Those are his shots now. Management will also have an opportunity to build around his strengths.This is a strong draft class. If the Kings get lucky in the NBA draft lottery, they could pair him with another John Calipari Kentucky player. Imagine a low post of Anthony Davis and Cousins? Or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
The wins haven't been piling up for the Kings, but the effort has been better. Other than a loss to the New Jersey Nets, the Kings have been in every game for the past week and a half.
The reason: Cousins.
He's becoming a dominant player right in front of our eyes. Losing seasons have become the norm for Kings fans. With the way Cousins has been playing, those losing seasons may be coming to an end. He's going to be a dominant player for a long time.