It’s been mentioned a few times from a variety of news sources, but for those that missed Sunday evenings tilt versus the Hornets, with 31 seconds left in the fourth and the game well in hand, Chris Paul decided to knock down Beno Udrih in a somewhat dirty play. Paul, who’s no stranger to pulling shenanigans (he has a unique love for taking swings at the twig and berries) was immediately approached by DeMarcus who according to Jimmy Spencer, told him to knock his bullshit off…
Coming to his guard’s defense, Cousins approached Paul to confront him about the play.
“Basically just ‘clean it up, man.’ I know I am a rookie but I can’t sit there and let him hurt my point guard. … (cont.)
(cont.) Just being a teammate. … It’s nothing against Chris Paul, I’m just being a teammate. (more ….)
(cont.) I go to battle with these guys every night and if we’ve got to take it that way, we’ve got to go. Im just having my teammate’s back”
Now say what you will about Cousins’ emotions, but to have a rookie stand up to an NBA superstar like Paul and back up his teammate says so much to me. For so many years, the Kings have lacked a toughness – a grit – a fire. That’s not to say a Brad Miller wouldn’t stick up for Kevin Martin when he took a dirty screen – he would, to a point…but this is different. Some might not say it’s a big deal to have a rookie challenge a superstar like Paul, but it is. So many times you see rookies and young players in general come into the league and be in awe of the stars they oppose.
In recent years (especially during the Musselman/Theus era’s) you’d see such minimal team comradery. I can recall multiple times when a King went down hard or on a dirty play where he dusted himself off and nobody came to his aid – most times not even to extend a hand to get up. It was sad, honestly.
These young guys are molding together right before your eyes. Some might see nothing more than a player doing the right thing, but it’s so much more than that. The Kings are becoming a team. A unit. Have they turned the proverbial corner? In some ways, yes. They’re still a very young team and need to continue their growth together, but this is no longer a collection of guys playing basketball together. This is a team.