"During the All-Star break, the A Royal Pain team graded every Sacramento Kings position, player by player, on their mid-season production. With a full 82 game schedule to analyze, those grades require updating. We’ll be giving every player their final grades this week, starting with DeMarcus Cousins, Ryan Hollins, and Sim Bhullar, the centers."
DeMarcus Cousins (A) – This was tough. Based on production alone, it’s easy to argue for a DeMarcus Cousins A. He was terrific when he was on the court. ‘On the court’ being the sticking point. Cousins missed 23 games this season due to some combination of viruses, injuries, and rest. It was the most games he’s missed in any of his five seasons as a professional basketball player. It was an anomaly.
This is why these grade columns are less about the grade itself and more about the words accompanying said grade. It’s a little subjective in that you could knock Cousins down a few pegs for his missed time if you wanted to, but I’m not going to do that. He put this team on his back for 59 games, earned himself an All-Star selection, and put up with a metric ton of garbage from the front office.
If you wanted some pre-All Star break analysis, you can read my midseason Cousins grade right here. For our purposes today, I’m going to focus on his post-All Star break time with George Karl.
Before All-Star Break –
DeMarcus Cousins – 40 GP / 34.5 MPG / 23.8 PPG / .465 FG% / 12.7 REB / 3.3 AST / 1.7 BLK / 4.35 TO
After All-Star Break –
DeMarcus Cousins – 19 GP / 33.3 MPG / 24.8 PPG / .473 / 13.1 REB / 4.1 AST / 1.8 BLK / 4.2 TO
If you were looking for some dramatic change in Cousins stat line pre or post Karl, there doesn’t appear to be one. His numbers are slightly higher across the board under Karl’s leadership, but it’s not drastic enough to use in some sort of pro-Karl argument. The point is, Cousins will be productive regardless of who the coach is, or what system that coach employs. He is a transcendent talent.
If anything, it dispels the notion that Cousins can’t, or shouldn’t play in an up and down, don’t-use-the-whole-shot clock type system. He did just fine for 19 games.
The uptick in assists pre and post All-Star break is not an accident. Karl used Cousins as a playmaker more than either Malone or Corbin. Now, some of that could have been a temporary strategy on Karl’s part because the Kings were without Darren Collison for the second half of the season, but Cousins loves passing the ball, and I’m glad Karl had him doing more of that.
That leads me to Cousins only real weakness this season outside of all the games he missed. Turnovers.
I can’t blame any one issue on Cousins turnovers. He got them in a variety of ways. Poor passes, forced takes to the rim, ‘point boogie’, etc. It all comes down to decision making, which is actually one of Cousins strengths, but when he does make a mistake, those mistakes manifest in turnovers. As we all know, the Sacramento Kings as a team has massive turnover issues all season long. That has to improve if the Kings want to improve next season.
For recaps sake, Cousins ranked 5th in the NBA in points per game, 3rd in the free throws made, 3rd in free throws attempted, 2nd in defensive rebounds, 3rd in total rebounds, 23rd in steals, 11th in blocks, and 2nd in turnovers.
We’ll remember this season as the season where Cousins really took off. Where he became a household name. Where he put it all together. I expect a long string of All-Star appearances in his future, and it started right here.
Don’t trade this guy. Just don’t.
Grades for Ryan Hollins and Sim Bhullar can be found on page two.