DeMarcus Cousins, ‘Sleeper MVP’? 3 Things He Must Be


It has been 16 years since the National Basketball Association has crowned a true center as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Surprisingly, between the guard and the forward position, only five players from each position have won the honor in that span.

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For the guards; Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash (twice), and Allen Iverson.  For the forwards; Kevin Durant, LeBron James (four times), Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan (twice).  To broaden the scope and demonstrate even further that this is not an award meant for the most valued position on the court, over the last 35 years, only three centers have won the award.

No, Moses Malone does not count, he was a power forward, and the same goes for Tim Duncan.  Over the last 35 years that has seen the NBA transition from its Golden era into the Modern Age, the only centers that have won the award are Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and the latest, 16 years ago, Shaquille O’Neal, current part owner of the Sacramento Kings.

Recently, sportswriters on the national scale have taken notice of Boogie’s potential as a MVP Candidate.  The national media has been quick to point out the flaws in his game.  He “unstable” (has been top 5 in Technical fouls in the previous 5 seasons, including leading the league in Tech’s in 2 of those 5), “temperamental” (See: 2015 offseason relationship with new Head Coach George Karl) and has even popped up on hometown blogs only to be named as the one of the top 10 most immature players in The League.  The national media votes on the MVP award, and even at home it seems that does not get the love he deserves.

In order to become the “Sleeper MVP” BleacherReport’s Kevin Ding predicts DeMarcus Cousins will be in 2015-2016; DeMarcus Cousins must learn 3 important lessons from prior NBA MVP’s and adopt them, in order to receive the award he has been taking strides towards since being drafted by the Kings with the 5th overall pick in 2005.

Channel His Inner Allen Iverson

Fans love him, NBA officials can’t stand him, coaches are (reportedly) frustrated by him, DeMarcus Cousins might as well be Allen Iverson.  Though “Boogie” has about 11 inches and 120 pounds on “The Answer”, there is no question that he could learn a few things from the 2000-2001 NBA MVP.

Allen Iverson didn’t care how the media viewed him.  He was never going to get the benefit of the doubt on a questionable call, and he probably caused Larry Brown more headaches than a parent with no control over his absurdly talented son.

Regardless of the reports, which included Allen Iverson racking up insane bar and restaurant tabs, alcohol binges, and of course an extreme dislike for practice, Allen Iverson went out every night and played not only to the best of his abilities, but far beyond his supposed physical limitations.

Take note DeMarcus, if you want to be the MVP, go ahead and leave the shenanigans out of the papers, but ignore what everyone has to say.  They will talk regardless, let your play speak for itself.

Regardless of the Numbers, Win

Case and point, Steve Nash 2004-2005, 2005-2006.  Back to back 55 plus win seasons for a team that without him would have never have been the same.  Both of those teams were on the cusp of winning championships, if it weren’t for a few questionable calls (Robert Horry and the “Cheap Shot Bob” incident), the championships that went to the Spurs could have easily have been theirs.

Boogie’s presence on the court is what will make the team go.  Solid defensive stops, blocks, rebounds and outlet passes as well as the ability to work the ball in the paint.  In order to validate the numbers and evaluate the success, regardless of the statistics, in order to get that MVP, he must win.


The last Center to win an NBA MVP was none other than Shaquille O’Neal.  The Sacramento Kings own long time nemesis.  Shaq. The Big Aristotle. The Big Shaqtus. The Big Diesel. Wilt Chamberneezy.  Whatever you decide to call him, it is very difficult to argue that Shaq was not the most dominating player in his prime.

He was Adrian Peterson, LeBron James, Barry Bonds & Dave Chappelle thrown into a pot, mixed up, and made into a 7 foot 300 pound remarkably talented and agile center.  The NBA may never see another like him, but DeMarcus Cousins can be this generation’s version of Shaquille O’Neal.

With the downsizing of NBA lineups in favor of smaller mismatches, DeMarcus Cousins may not match Shaq’s size and strength in comparison, but he possesses the ability to be that dominating, unguardable presence that opposing teams fear.

Shaquille O’Neal’s MVP season was nothing short of the preceding description, he flat-out dominated while leading the Lakers to an NBA Championship, averaging 29.7 points per game, 3.0 blocks per game, 13.6 rebounds per game, on 57 percent shooting.

DeMarcus Cousins’ best season, his All-NBA 2nd Team selection year, he averaged 24.1 points per game, 1.7 blocks per game, 12.7 rebounds per game, on 47 percent shooting.  He is entering his 6th NBA season, and is poised to break out of every label given to him, and determined to become a greater presence in the league, as well as a leader among his teammates.

When asked this week if the 2015-2016 NBA MVP was a reachable goal for him, with no hesitation, he responded “Reachable man? Its mine to grab.”  DeMarcus Cousins is something special, and this season, he can break into the next level of elite by paving the way towards a historical season, not only for his self, but for the franchise as well.

By reaching into the past and adopting the paths set forth by prior MVP’s, a greater percentage of readers and analysts will realize that DeMarcus Cousins is no longer a “Sleeper” pick, but rather, a perennial league favorite.

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