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.