With Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the books and Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals set to tip off tomorrow, there are no former Wildcats remaining in the 2014 NBA Playoffs— save for Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, who began his coaching career as a student manager under Rick Pitino in 1994-95. However, Kentucky’s league-best 21 former players who ended their seasons on NBA rosters collectively had a terrific 2013-14 campaign. On a slow news day in the offseason, let’s take a look back at one of those former players, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who has solidified himself as one of the NBA’s few elite big men:
Cousins majorly increased his scoring load in 2013-14 to 22.7 PPG, good for ninth best among the league’s top scorers. DeMarcus scored 30+ points on fifteen different occasions this season. Cousins also posted a career best 11.7 rebounds per game– placing him among the NBA’s top five rebounders on the season– while pulling down 15+ boards in thirteen different regular season games.
Most impressively, DMC was third in the league in double-doubles, recording 53 on the season. Cousins missed only 11 games on the year, but his Kings managed to earn just 28 wins and 54 losses in a tough Western Conference. But, with the addition of one-time Memphis Grizzlies star Rudy Gay and the rising potential of young standouts Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore, Sacramento’s future seems to be heading in the right direction. Cousins, who signed a 4-year, $62 million contract extension last September, will remain the team’s centerpiece for years to come.
Courtesy of @NBA, check out Cousins’ top 10 plays of the 2013-14 season: