A crazy move by the Kings

DeMarcus Cousins flexes his muscles.

Now that the DeMarcus Cousins has racked up a notch on his belt, and the Kings’ management has decided to let the inmates run the asylum,  you’d be crazy to feel optimistic about the team’s future.

When you have a man who has been a malcontent in the basketball arena since high school, a purported future star who has to be goaded into getting into shape, a high draft choice who picks fights with teammates, trainers and coaches, why would you bet your future on that player? Cousins has as much chance of self-reform as deposed coach Paul Westphal had of making him a team player. I’m surprised the Kings’ management didn’t name Cousins as a player-coach. Why make poor Keith Smart appease Cousins for the rest of the season? Let Cousins try to keep himself happy by playing any which way he wants. He’s the franchise.

I know, there are those who say Cousins is a just a big, misunderstood kid, an easy target at 6 foot 11 and 270 pounds, a fall guy for Westphal’s ineptitude. Among Westphal’s sins was the inability to inspire Cousins to hustle on the court. Bee sports columnist Ailene Voisin says that Cousins “still needs to get pushed to work harder.”

Gee, I don’t recall hearing anything like that said about former NBA greats Michael Jordan  or Larry Bird. They had an internalized system that drove them to work hard all the time. They exhibited that from their high school days, through college and into the pros. They maximized their talents and made their teammates better players. They played on winning teams.

The Kings have set themselves up for long-term failure by appeasing a malcontent and firing the coach. Guys like Cousins don’t mature into hard-working, self-regulating adults. They don’t mature into team leaders. They don’t inspire teammates to higher levels of play. And they don’t serve as a magnet to draw other stars to join them.

The Kings already have a problem with several would-be stars who want the ball all the time and don’t work together on defense. They don’t have a team leader. Now, management has sent out word that star players don’t have to listen to their coach.

Given that, the Kings ought to make Cousins a player-coach and put the savings toward a privately financed new asylum – oops – arena.

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5 Responses to A crazy move by the Kings

  1. Rory Sayer says:

    What does race have to do with this? I’m really not sure what you’re getting at, or if you’re just being sarcastic.

    Also, Westphal needed fired regardless of what happened with Cousins. The fact that Westphal handled this situation so terribly only added to his terrible resume. Cousins is far from innocent, but a coach can’t behave the way Westphal did. I too am worried about the message this could be sending to Cousins, but it doesn’t have to work in the negative. After firing Westphal and returning Cousins to the starting lineup, the Kings are in a position of trust with Cousins. He can’t in the future reasonably believe that the organization is against him, and when they come to him with corrective orders, he could well be more open to the changes than he otherwise would have been. Obviously, there’s far from any guarantee about this, but firing Westphal was necessary and carries little risk. I believe it could also help to gain the trust of one of the top two most talented players on the team.

    • Paul Clegg says:

      Rory,
      I doubt that Cousins will embrace tolerance and trust for anyone who tries to tell him what to do. Already the new coach is telling the 6 foot 11, 270 pound Cousins that he needn’t play the low post if he doesn’t want to. I am reminded of the fable about the turtle who decides to trust the rattlesnake and ride on its back across the raging river. Cousins is what he has always been.

      • Rory Sayer says:

        Paul,
        My main point was that Westphal was an awful coach and needed to go anyway. If Cousins is indeed going to continue to be a problem, that will be unfortunate. But I don’t believe that the risk of that is a good enough reason to forgo a slight but attainable chance for greatness. If Westphal was even an average coach and worth making it through the season, then this would be the wrong move. But Westphal was awful, and then took an issue public and made the franchise look worse than it already does. His bags were packed.

        I said far from guaranteed, when I should’ve said unlikely. I do agree that Cousins taking this incident and maturing from is it is a doubtful proposition. I still believe the above.

  2. John C Clegg says:

    By this time doesn’t someone pull out the race card???? JCC. 1/6/12

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