DeMarcus Cousins continues to baffle his team as he just never seems to grow up. After Friday night's verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart, Cousins is suspended indefinitely, according to ESPN. Don't expect anything to change once Cousins is back on the court.
The real question is, who really runs the Kings: Cousins or Smart? After all, Cousins was the player most responsible for former coach Paul Westphal's dismissal. For those who don't remember, Westphal sent Cousins home from a Kings home game last January and was fired four days later.
Westphal is not the only basketball person to recognize Cousins has behavioral issues. USA Today notes that USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo noted that Cousins "needs to mature as a person [and] as a player if he's going to have an outstanding NBA career."
In his third season in Sacramento, time is running out for Cousins to show he gets it. He needs to outgrow his hotheaded ways if he wants to make it in the NBA.
To be fair, Cousins seems like a good kid who is trying his best. He was nothing but apologetic after the confrontation, taking full responsibility for his actions. His response to this latest setback is certainly encouraging for the Kings.
Also, Cousins' intensity is actually a good thing when harnessed properly. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe details Cousins as "an intense player, a throwback because he doesn’t fraternize with opponents. He faces up against the league’s top big men and doesn’t back down."
Cousins wouldn't have averaged a double-double last season if he wasn't intense and adamant on being the best. With a bit more control, he can reach that goal, but he will have to harness his intensity.
That having been said, learning to harness one's emotions is never easy, especially when doing so under the white-hot spotlight of professional sports.
Cousins will have to change who he is as a person to make it in Sacramento. He will need to learn how to deal with coaching and criticism, both fair and unfair. Analysts will go after Cousins, and he needs to deal with it.
I don't think he'll be able to do that in Sacramento. Cousins needs leadership, and that is something the Kings just don't have. They lack a veteran leader and an established, respected head coach. Worst of all, the Kings are owned by the Maloof family, which is more focused on making money than fielding a decent team.
The Kings just do not have the resources to help Cousins reach his potential. He wants to succeed, but he is holding himself back, and the Kings can't stop it. They'd be best-served trading Cousins, knowing that he can never succeed in the basketball void that is Sacramento.
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