Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
To compete in the NBA, you pretty much need a star player or two (or three in some cases). There are exceptions to the rule, but even then, those teams rarely make noise in the postseason. The Kings have their star player in DeMarcus Cousins.
Granted, Cousins has yet to make an All-Star team, so you could make a solid argument that he's technically not a star. Semantics aside, anybody that watched Cousins play last season can see his potential. And it's not just that "p-word" (potential), like he's some raw rookie years away from putting it all together. DeMarcus has a legitimate shot at being recognized as a star this season.
Don't kid yourself, if DeMarcus played in L.A., New York, Boston or Chicago, he'd already get credit for the player he's become. If a 21-year-old center (he was 21 last season) averaged 18.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks in a big market, we'd hear about him so often we'd be nauseous at the mere mention of him.
But recognition aside, because that will come with time, Cousins is the type of player the Kings have been yearning for. He's young, he's incredibly competitive, he's dedicated to improving, he plays well on both sides of the ball and he plays a premium position.
Plus, he figures to only keep maturing as a person now that Keith Smart is returning as head coach. After all, nobody questioned Cousins' talent entering the draft. The real concerns were with his character. If he's got a coach that he trusts in Smart, then the sky's the limit.