It’s funny to think that a simple punch to the groin of an opponent was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but for many Sacramento King fans, DeMarcus Cousins‘ mini-punch to the man-region of the Dallas Mavericks’ O.J. Mayo was the death blow.
November 05, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) calls for fans support with power forward Chuck Hayes (42) against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Golden State Warriors 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The resulting suspension was Cousins’ second in a handful of days and it appears many of the once loyal Cousin faithful are growing tired of the childish, victim antics. Make no mistake, Cousins is one of the most intriguing talents in the league, but there becomes a time when talent can only hold out for so long and the potential is eaten away by poor decision making, which many are starting to believe will haunt Cousins for good.
We’ve heard it all before. We knew what we were getting ourselves into during the 2010 NBA Draft. There’s a reason DeMarcus slipped to number five. It was a risk worth taking for Geoff Petrie and the Kings, but now instead of jingle bells, it’s regrets ringing in the head of some King fans and to that I say, have none.
If you’re expecting DeMarcus Cousins to ever have the dull on-court persona of a Tim Duncan or the stoic face of Chauncey Billups, you’re barking up the wrong tree because dull, Cousins is not. Cousins is an emotional player who feeds off the chip on his shoulder. It’s the fuel that can make him great but it’s a volatile fuel that can blow up at any time – assuming it’s not correctly harnessed. Sadly right now, the only person who can control that is DeMarcus himself and he’s still learning to do that.
For those outside of Alabama, Kentucky or Sacramento who haven’t taken the time to explore DeMarcus, Cousins is perceived as a malcontent. An immature brat who refuses to grow up and while there might be some small truth to that, what they don’t see is the passion for the game Cousins has, the desire to help others. You never see Cousins feeding the homeless on SportsCenter, you never see the former Wildcat randomly surprising local kids with gifts at Wal-Mart, you don’t see Cousins not only donating his money but time to victims of disasters like the semi-recent tornado’s in Alabama. Those situations would ruin the persona the media has created around Cousins – the hated, vilified mega-talent who simply can’t tighten the screws in his head.
Cousins certainly has his moments – frustrating and irritating as they can be. But also remember, this isn’t a player getting arrested – this isn’t a player constantly in legal trouble – this isn’t a player who has any history of any misconduct off the court. The only issues people have with Cousins is his on-court behavior, which again, while at times frustrating, could be far worse. There are extreme talents you have to give up on because they simply don’t get it, but DeMarcus Cousins is not one of them.
November 27, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Kings 97-89. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Even if you have grown tired of the antics and that’s understandable, getting fair value out of the big man is impossible.
King fans need to look no further than their own former franchise savior in Chris Webber who had worn out his welcome in both Golden State and Washington then all but refused to come to Sacramento until he was essentially dragged to the airport by his father. He admittingly cried as he looked out of the airplane window as he approached the city, seeing nothing but farmland and fields – he hated Sacramento without ever giving it a chance. Yet, years later he and the city grew to loved each other. Webber was beloved (and still is) in Sacramento and rightfully so, but there’s never any mention of an arrest on marijuana and assault charges – no talk of a grand jury investigation into a sexual assault complaint – not to mention the other handful of scenario’s that Webber had peppered throughout his career. That’s no knock on C-Webb in the least bit – simply a demonstration of teams giving up on an elite talent far too early in their career and when you compare the early years of Webber’s career against that of Cousins’, you’d think they were reversed.
What makes a player turn that proverbial corner is an unknown – it could be something as simple as them realizing the error of their ways, a talk with somebody of authority to them or a change of scenery. Whatever that might be, it happens, many times and the team who went through the early lumps and bruises rarely is rewarded for the frustration they encountered. For the Kings, they can’t give up on Cousins. The issues, while semi-frequent, are small and the potential and ability Cousins harnesses is immense.
I know it’s hard and at times you can’t but help shake your head, but DeMarcus is a special, special player. He’s just a few months removed from turning 22 years of age. Give him time. The irritations are, well, just that – but DeMarcus is a player you can’t give up on. It’s a tough sell to preach patience, but with youth so talented, it’s an unfortunate must.