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Your blueprint to defending DeMarcus Cousins in today’s NBA

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Kentucky basketball fans’ love for DeMarcus Cousins runs deep through their pores, there’s no denying that.

Whether it was the “call me” game, the putback layup as time expired to send the SEC championship against Mississippi State to OT, or dancing at midcourt after leading the Wildcats to their NCAA record 2000th win in program history, Boogie was a fan favorite from the start and gave the John Calipari era at Kentucky one of the most entertaining kick-starts you could possibly ask for.

Now that Cousins is dominating the NBA ranks, however, his reputation has taken quite a beating. 

Opposing fans call out his temper tantrums, bad attitude on the court, knack for piling up technical fouls, immaturity, existence as a locker room cancer, etc. Every negative aspect of Cousins seems to be put under a microscope, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

Now how could a guy that was loved by so many in his time at Kentucky become such a villain in the professional ranks?

Cousins is averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds a game, absolutely dominating the game of basketball. His low-post offensive moves are a thing of beauty, as he can score on anyone in the NBA. He has developed a consistent jump shot extending beyond the three point line, can rebound with the best of them, and has become a great defender, averaging 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals a game. Many are calling him the best big man in the game right now, some of which claiming he has what it takes to become one of the greatest big men in league history.

But what exactly does he have to show for it?

Before you throw the “he’s making millions of dollars a year to play a game, he can get over it” card, understand his history.

Cousins grew up dominating each stop of the way in winning environments. Grade school, high school, college, and now the pros. He led his high school to back-to-back semifinal appearances in the Alabama state tournament. He led the 2009-10 Kentucky team to a 35-3 record and an Elite Eight appearance. At each stop he won games at a pleasing rate, all except for in the NBA, when he’s actually getting paid to play the game. He’s worked his entire life to get to the point he’s at right now, and the organization he plays for isn’t doing their part to create a winning atmosphere despite countless top ten draft selections and money to spend in free agency.

Let’s say you’re in his shoes for just one day. You’re drafted into a Sacramento Kings organization that has yet to prove in recent years it knows which end is up. The front office has proven itself time and time again it lacks competency or ability to put the team in position for success in the future. The Kings haven’t won more than 33 games in a year since Cousins has been on the roster and they have drafted in the top ten each of the last seven seasons. They have had five different head coaches since Boogie was drafted, and finished 19th overall in terms of fan attendance this past season. No one wants to play for them, no one can coach them, and no one wants to spend money to watch their games.

Any major success for the Sacramento Kings doesn’t seem to be on the horizon anytime soon.

Oh, and let’s go back to the money thing. The NBA salary cap is spiking at an alarming rate, thus players are getting paid ridiculous sums of cash that doesn’t quite translate to their production on the court. Timofey Mozgov, the guy that averaged a whopping 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in roughly five minutes an outing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Playoffs, received a contract of four years, 64 million dollars this offseason. Cousins signed a four year, $65,619,700 extension with the Kings back in 2014, meaning he will be making roughly the same salary as Mozgov till 2018.

If that’s not a punch in the stomach for Cousins, I don’t know what is. Frankly, anyone that wouldn’t be at least halfway upset with his situation in Sacramento is lying to themselves.

He’s spending his prime in a place that can’t seem to win games. When he vents his frustrations or lets his emotions get the best of him on the court, he becomes a media target and gets criticized. No matter the countless hours of charity work he puts in or dollars he gives away to those in need, his “immaturity” and “temper tantrums” gets highlighted on the daily ESPN talk shows and plastered all over the internet rather than the good he does.

He’s frustrated, and has every right to be.

Imagine him in a winning situation around a coaching staff with half a lick of stability, where he could spend his nights in early summer dominating the Playoffs, rather than sitting at home on the couch. Where fans could watch his growth into superstardom on primetime television, rather than at 10:30 p.m. on a no-name channel or League Pass during the regular season.

What reason would he have to act up on the court? He’d have the money, the teammates, the coaches, and the winning culture. His brand would change, his image would improve, his attitude would completely spin 180 degrees, and he could finally become the Boogie in the pros we all came to love in his time at Kentucky. The script on his career would flip entirely.

So next time you hear someone call Cousins a thug, crybaby, chemistry-killer, or whatever hot garbage spews from the latest hater’s mouth, remind them of the situation he’s in and where he came from. Remind them that he’s wasting away his prime years in an incompetent organization, not making the money he deserves, for a coach that probably won’t be the same as the previous year.

Sacramento, please do this kid a favor and trade him.


Follow me on Twitter at @JackPilgrimKSR

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

14 Comments for Your blueprint to defending DeMarcus Cousins in today’s NBA

  1. King Ghidora
    7:02 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

    You should point out the bias in the media and how that has created the myth of Cousins the Thug. From the very first national game the media singled him out as a bully for defending himself against an onslaught from Loserville the likes I haven’t seen since UKTV was the only way to get SEC road games for the Cats and no national audience meant anything goes. UL played double dirty in that game. They vowed to get him tossed. They punched, kicked, gouged and elbowed Boogie the entire night. A guy kicked him in the head and when he put his arm across his head to let the guy know he didn’t like that the media went nuts about how Boogie was a thug. The Cruds went as far as to grab the ankle of a player heading into the stands after a loose ball making sure he would have a dangerous collision with the seats. Pitino was out to get the upper hand on his old nemesis (Cal) and nothing was too rotten to try to get there. And the media ran with the whole idea forever after. They wanted a new bad boy, a new Dennis Rodman and they were going to make Cousins that guy. The league let players bait him, the t’ed him up for almost anything, and they suspended him to keep his name in the news. The whole thing has been a railroad job of another UK player. We all know Boogie got along great at UK despite the way he was treated by hostile fans. Why isn’t that the case now? The things you point out certainly played a part but the media tried to pigeon hole him right from the start and that stinks.

  2. msnthrop
    7:32 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

    As a Celtics fan I would offer this package for DC: Nets 2017 1st round pick swap, Clippers 2018 1st round pick, Memphis 2018 1st round pick, Avery Bradley, James Young, and Jonas Jerebko.

    • Jack Pilgrim
      10:11 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

      As a Celtics fan myself, this trade would move the C’s into legit title contention. That being said, a trade for Boogie will take a lot more than that. Both Crowder and Bradley would likely have to be shipped out, both Nets picks, another first. Maybe even Smart. I’d pull the trigger on pretty much anything for Cousins, but not sure if Ainge and company would move nearly all their assets for him.. I like where you’re head’s at though! Boogie in Boston would be scary.

    • msnthrop
      3:12 pm July 16, 2016 Permalink

      Including Crowder and/or Smart would take us back out of title contention and thus render the trade useless. I could be convinced to add either Rozier or Mickey to the package but there is no way I’d give up two Nets pick for him unless we were getting Sacto’s 2017 first round pick back in return. That would be 3 1st round picks (one of those likely high lottery and maybe 2 in the lottery if the Clippers implode next year which I think is a distinct possibility), a 1st team all defense starter, a solid rotation player, and two guys with potential. If Sacto can get more than that from someone then more power to them. Frankly DC just needs to quietly demand a trade now and if they drag their heels pretend his back is bothering him.

  3. scwhite9
    9:57 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

    He is one of my all-time favorite players. I was at the game he did the “call me” and also at the SEC tourney when he took us into overtime. He reminds me of a big bear that lazy folks think is dangerous; but, instead he is a teddy bear in all he does. He gives as much of himself and to charity as any of the other players. I love you, Boogie!

  4. SADmaninKy
    10:02 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

    Totally agree! He needs to go to Phoenix, although I would hate to see any UK guards go to the train wreck in SacTown. The Kings’ mismanagement team would probably go for giving up Boogie for the the chance to get two big men, maybe Tyson Chandler and Alex Len? They seem to love big guys…

  5. Kizzy
    10:20 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

    I’m sorry Cousins has absolutely NO reason to complain about his life situation. His NBA situation…sure. but he is living a plush dream of a life most would kill for.I don’t feel sorry for him.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:13 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

      Not the point of the story, idiot. Again.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:15 pm July 15, 2016 Permalink

      Your southeastern TN education is showing every time you post.

  6. EdC
    8:46 am July 16, 2016 Permalink

    Starting a post “I’m sorry” or “Um” is the height of condescending douchebaggery.

  7. EdC
    8:50 am July 16, 2016 Permalink

    Good article. There is only so much anybody can take it and take it and take it. He has been surrounded by very little talent, had bad coaches, terrible front office, etc. etc. etc. If he EVER manages to get on a good team and gets anywhere close to even officiating from the officials and still continues to act out then maybe there is something there but for now he has put up with a crazy amount of garbage for an elite player.

  8. The Original WTF Guy
    10:42 am July 16, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t know who Jack Pilgrim is, but I can only assume he (she?) is in their early- to mid-20s because anyone over that age would realize that as life goes on you often find yourself in less than optimal situations. Yes, I know it comes as a giant surprise, but you don’t always get a trophy and ice cream after the game. When you are in a less than optimal situation you can behave in a way that reduces your ability to get out of that situation or you can act like a professional and do the things necessary to get yourself out of that situation. Cousins’ on court talent cannot be denied. But I wonder why teams are not lining up to try to acquire him? Could it be that his behaviors make him less attractive. So you can make all the excuses you want (e.g., where he came from, the terrible franchise he plays for, etc) but eventually, Cousins has to prove he is a professional and is not who the media portrays him to be.

    You don’t get the good situations because of the promise that you will behave professionally in the future, you get the good situations because you behave professionally now. I have worked my way up from less attractive positions to the one I am in not because I promised to do the job but because I proved I could do the job under less than ideal circumstances.

    I, like most everyone, love Demarcus and would really love to see him in a better situation. But I also know that his chances of getting in that situation increase when he begins to match is behaviors with his play.

    Pilgrim points out the great things Cousins does that doesn’t get the media coverage the negative ones do. True, but we all know negatives are going to be covered much more than positives. Furthermore, what about the negative things that we don’t know about?

    • msnthrop
      3:14 pm July 16, 2016 Permalink

      Teams are lined up to acquire him right now…Sacto simply won’t accept their offers yet.

  9. catdaddyd
    12:12 pm July 16, 2016 Permalink

    Quit making excuses for Cuz. Have you not watched him in the nba? Pouts, doesn’t get back on D when a call doesn’t go his way. I’m not sure he would succeed with the Spurs.