Talent was never the problem with DeMarcus Cousins. It has always been his immaturity and attitude holding him up from reaching his full potential. He was more of a headache than an asset for the Sacramento Kings in his first few seasons. That has changed this season as Cousins is having the best season due to a new attitude and maturity, which is why Cousins has become the leader and MVP for the Kings thus far.
Last season Cousins' immaturity led to multiple suspensions from the NBA and the Kings.
His first suspension was a strange one. He confronted Spurs announcer Sean Elliott, according to SB Nation.
NBA suspends Kings' DeMarcus Cousins 2 games for confronting announcer Sean Elliot in a "hostile" matter: http://t.co/N5lLUuNi— SB Nation (@sbnation) November 12, 2012
The next suspension came after Cousins decided to hit O.J. Mayo below the belt. Here is what O.J. Mayo said after the game, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.
That guy has some mental issues, man. He's a talented player. He has an opportunity to be the face of that organization, but I don't think he wants it. ... He's immature, man. Big maturity problem. Hopefully, he'll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.
Just over a week later Cousins got into a verbal altercation with then coach Keith Smart. USA Today's Sam Amick reported the news.
Sacramento Kings announce they've suspended DeMarcus Cousins "indefinitely for unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team."— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 22, 2012
However, Cousins has matured this year and wants to be the leader of the Kings. His maturity and improved focus have led to the best season of his career. He is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and field-goal percentage.
**Stats from basketball-reference.com**
**As of January 15**
The biggest change for Cousins is transforming from a distraction to a leader. Here is what coach Michael Malone said, according to Jabari Young from Spurs Nation.
Is DeMarcus Cousins the best center in the NBA?
He’s making great strides in that area and we’re going to continue to work with him to fulfill all that potential he has. But he’s definitely a big voice for this team. He sets a tone for us every day, and that’s what being a leader is about – doing the right thing every day, and he’s trying to do that.
In an interview before the season with ABC News10's Sean Cunningham, Cousins talked about being a leader.
I'm still going to be the same player, just less mistakes. Some of the mistakes I've made in the past... getting ejected, letting my team down, those things I can't continue to do. I feel I'm past that now. I am ready to accept responsibility and be this team's leader. I got to go out there and lead every night. I got to be the one diving on the floor for those loose balls...That's part of me being a leader.
His teammates believe his as you can see from this interview with Isaiah Thomas.
True to his word, Cousins has become the leader with both his attitude and on-court play. No suspensions or locker room fights this season. Cousins is quickly becoming the best center in the NBA and has been the Kings leader and MVP to this point.
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