Seven. I count seven hands.
Cousins is a beast, and he’s only getting better. But if there’s one knock on the mercurial center, it has nothing to do with his prodigious rebounding, deft dishing or low-post grace.
It has everything to do with acting like a grown-up.
Thankfully, according Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News, Cousins has made amends for one his more egregious transgressions: A postgame confrontation with San Antonio Spurs color commentator Sean Elliott last season.
First, a little background from Pro Basketball Talk’s Brett Pollakoff:
Cousins was suspended two games last season for confronting Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott after a game to discuss some remarks Elliott had made during the broadcast…Elliott is a ridiculous homer to be sure, but nothing he said would have justified Cousins going after him once the game was finished.
So, that’s definitely not the right move. Fire and passion is one thing. Loose-cannon theatrics—those don’t tend to fly.
You know what doesn’t help things, either? Continuing to talk about it to the media.
Fast forward to Friday night’s Spurs-Kings matchup and—wait, what’s this? DeMarcus Cousins is…apologizing to Sean Elliott?
“I was surprised to see him come over to me,” Elliott said after the brief encounter. “DeMarcus seemed very sincere, and I really appreciated it.”
It’s probably a bit early to consider this any kind of serious bellwether for Cousins turning the grown-up corner. But it’s certainly a start.
For SB Nation’s Eddie Maisonet, however, Cousins’ maturation process was already well underway before Friday’s much-ballyhooed mea culpa.
Maybe it'll be because of the sprints. Maybe it'll be because of that beard. Maybe it'll be because of those late-night conversations he has with Shaq. Maybe he's just fed up with losing and folks asking him silly questions. Game 1 saw Boogie put up 30 and 14 in a 90-88 win over the Denver Nuggets, but all we want to see in games two through 82 is a carpenter refining his skills game by game… Who knows, maybe we'll start calling him Mr. Cousins instead of Boogie, it could be the start of something magical.
Wind sprints? A neatly trimmed beard? Late-night conversation with part-Sacramento Kings owner Shaquille O’Neal?
Why were we not aware of this?
It’s hard to believe Cousins’ improved attitude has much to do with his team’s fortunes, which remain pretty much nonexistent (they’re poised to finish with their eighth consecutive losing season).
Perhaps it’s the hefty four-year, $62 million extension to which the Kings inked their caustic cornerstone before this season (per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski).
Whatever the impetus, head coach Mike Malone has to like what he’s seeing from Cousins both on and off the court. Because so long as Cousins controls the latter, the applause for the former is only going to get louder.