I’m going to quote here…
“I just wanted the ball in my hands at the end of the game.”
Boy, did he ever. And most impressive about it was the way he calmly gathered himself after a below average entry pass, never to panic, then swish – a 16 foot mini hook shot, nothing but the bottom of the net as the clock ticked down.
Listen, I realize it’s only summer league. Part of me wishes for a few moments I had no affiliation with the Kings simply so my word had a bit more credit to it. I hate homers. I can’t stand them. They drive me nuckin futs. I try my best to avoid being a homer and I think I do a dandy of a job – so when I tell you that DeMarcus Cousins is the fucking truth, it comes as a fan of basketball – not as a fan of the Sacramento Kings.
The NBA TV broadcast last night was more or less a slob fest about DeMarcus, but rightfully so. Cousins was easily the most dominant player on the court for either squad, putting up another impressive statistical line: 22, 12, and 5 – but the continued dominant statistical lines are only a afterthought when compared to Cousins remarkable knowledge of the game. Let us not forget, this kid is 19 years of age yet he plays the game as if he’s been in the NBA for years.
Throughout the first three games of the Vegas summer league, Cousins has displayed some of the best passing I’ve seen out of a big man since the Webber/Vlade days. He continually splits defenders to find the cutter. Last night when Tyreke Rice couldn’t find the open man and he shoved it down to Cousins to get rid of the hot potato, Cousins made sure he found that open man after drawing in defenders with a crafty bounce pass. When the Kings missed a potential fast break opportunity, guess who saw it and got the ball down the court? The court vision for a player at this stage of his career is remarkable. Hell, he even ran a fast break from end to end which resulted in a fantastic switching of body weight to avoid a charge attempting to be set against him, resulting in two free throws. This, all in addition to absolutely owning the game for the third consecutive night.
I’m not sure what I was more impressed with – the 22/12/5, the crisp butter on a roll passing attack he puts on, or the fact that in the final moments he demanded the ball, posted up, didn’t panic with the poor entry pass, and uber calmly knocked down an incredibly tough shot.
Like I said, I’ve watched basketball for a long time. I know the difference between the summer league and the grinds of an NBA regular season. So, please don’t think I’m just enamored with the statistics of Cousins or the lack of quality players he’s matching up against. The guy plays the game well ahead of his age and has the chance to be very special. It’s a good time to be a Kings fan.
In other news from the game, Omri Casspi struggled again (even though his line wasn’t too shabby) – but it’s pretty clear as to why. He’s simply pressing. The Kings are trying to get him to play a more physical style of basketball and it seems to be the only thought running through his mind. I think things will clear up once he gets a better feel on what he’s attempting to do, but for right now, it’s a process.
Tyreke Rice played heavy minutes last night and didn’t disappoint, putting up 10/5/4 and did a much better job running the team than in his previous two outings, but, he still had the score first mentality – something that I doubt gets him very far in the mind of Petrie….but just might with other GM’s. Hey, David Kahn was there watching….you know he loves himself a point guard.
Speaking of Kahn, he and Chris Webber had one of the most hilarious, awkward, and uncomfortable exchanges when Kahn sat down for an interview with Webber (who was the color guy for NBA TV last evening). When Webber pressed Kahn about Darko Milicic, things went from slightly uncomfortable to incredibly awkward. Kahn graciously pointed out that Darko is quite possibly the second best passing big man since Vlade (no word on where Kahn gets his drugs from however) and then proceeded to compare Darko’s situation to Chris’ when Chris went from the Wizards (Bullets) to the Kings. Chris didn’t take so kindly to the situation, obviously angered, told Kahn to stop comparing he and Darko in the same breath…and well yeah, it just didn’t get better from there.
The “good luck” moment at the end might be my favorite part of it all…
Kings – 79
T’Wolves – 78
Player Of The Game - DeMarcus Cousins
Highlights via KingsFlix: