DeMarcus Cousins has made it pretty clear that he wants to stay in Sacramento and that he wants a max contract. Heading into his fourth season in the NBA, Cousins has made more headlines for his attitude than his play on the court, but he’s still considered one of the most promising big men in the league. This morning, Grantland’s Zach Lowe posted an in-depth profile on Cousins entitled “The Mystery of Boogie,” in which he examines Cousins’ game and whether or not he deserves a max contract extension.
When it comes to his game, Lowe concludes that DeMarcus is a talented big man with “a pass-and-dribble skill set that is undeniably tantalizing for a player of his size,” but his poor defense prevents him from being a max-level player. Lowe says that too often, Cousins doesn’t get into position soon enough on defense, which leads to easy baskets for the other team, and often times, fouls. The latter was particularly interesting to me. Lowe dispels the notion that Cousins’ temper is the reason he leads the league in fouls; it’s mostly because he gets into position too late:
Everyone knows about Cousins’s foul issues. He led the league in fouls in each of his first two seasons, and no one has fouled out of more games since Cousins entered the NBA. Those fouls come not from his “temper,” or any penchant for violence, but from very bad issues of position and timing that leave him with no option but to reach desperately for steals.
Lowe does note that Cousins has improved his pick-and-roll skills and shot selection, but until he fixes that defense, he’s not a max-level player. What should Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro do?
D’Alessandro should be working hard to find that trade partner willing to surrender a package that meets his needs. The Kings should be in no rush; Cousins hasn’t earned it. They control the free-agency process, and they should make him prove he’s worth that kind of deal – either so they can feel comfortable giving it to him, or to boost his trade value midseason. Either way, the Boogie mystery has some exciting turns in store.
For more, go check out Lowe’s piece in full. It’s definitely worth it.