Despite only playing two more minutes a game in the ’11-12 season when compared to the last, DeMarcus Cousins‘ increase in numbers were nothing short of impressive. While the Kentucky big certainly has a vast amount to learn when it comes to growth, it’s hard not to be excited when bringing up the big man’s future with the Kings organization.
Cousins’ rookie year was one of high’s and low’s, streaky play that involved even more streakiness off. There were clashes with the coaching staff, some maturity issues on and off the floor. And while there were some minor blips on the radar regarding similar issues this year, the majority of them went out the window with Paul Westphal who was notorious for his oddball tactics towards apparent volatile personalities.
The native Alabaman was one of only a few bright spots in the Kings’ season this year, improving his field goal percentage from his rookie season’s 43% to near 45% in his second full season. And while that may not appear to be a significant jump (and it’s not nearly as high as it needs to be), given the fact that he started out his season so poorly (along with a very sub-par February) makes the improvement a bit better then it appears.
As the year went on, Cousins’ play improved from the early part of the season, the growth visible in his all-around game. Despite being more involved in the offense as ever, Cousins dropped his insanely high turnover percentage in ’10-11 down from 18.5% to a much more respectable 12.8%. A 4.2% win share and 3.2 simple rating put Cousins atop the Kings roster, only bested in simple ratings by Isaiah Thomas.
With a career high in blocks, steals, rebounds, points and both field goal and free throw percentages, finding fault in Cousins’ season is cherry picking. Yes, there are areas he needs to improve upon, no doubt, but it’s hard to find those type of numbers combined with that type of passion to win in a 21 year old talent.
It was a more than solid year for Cousins and the ’12-13 season should even be better than the past, which is saying a lot.
Season Grade: B+