Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is DeMarcus Cousins Worth The Risk?

In the 2010 NBA draft the Sacramento Kings took a gamble on the controversial and misunderstood DeMarcus Cousins. The so called experts labeled him as supremely talented, but lacking maturity and a solid work ethic. 18 months later those words are sounding prophetic as the Kings find themselves in a crisis with their star player. DeMarcus has had run-ins with teammates and coaches in the past, but last week Cousins was sent home before a game against New Orleans for disciplinary reasons. Where did it all go wrong?

The problem is three fold. First off, the Sacramento Kings are one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Their roster has 10 players under the age of 26 and lacks leadership. There is no one to put DeMarcus in his place when he acts up. Secondly, in Sacramento the Kings are the only game in town. If a city only has one professional sports franchise there's too much scrutiny on the player's every move. Things get blown out of proportion and fans tend to gossip more than they should. Lastly, the coach doesn't like him. Paul Westphal is a 5 time all star that's won championships with the Boston Celtics and coached one of the 50 greatest players in his only MVP season (Charles Barkley 1993). In his mind who the hell is DeMarcus Cousins and why does he think his attitude will be tolerated? The two of them can not coexist and one of them has to go.

I always say keep the talent and agile big men are hard to come by, but this time I think Sacramento is willing to cut their losses and start over. DeMarcus has become a malcontent and there's no end in sight. The distractions are starting to hurt the team and the best thing for everyone is to trade him. Hopefully his agent can get him to a team down south where he's from (Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte, New Orleans) or a team with veteran leadership (Boston, San Antonio, Dallas) to help his development and maturation process.

The real question is whether DeMarcus Cousins is worth the risk. From a physical standpoint the answer is obvious. You can't teach 6'11 270 pounds and at age 21 the sky's the limit for this guy. From a team standpoint however, DeMarcus is a volatile, moody, problem child that's difficult for players and coaches to reach.

I'm sure off the court Demarcus is a fine young man and sweet as a sugar cube to his family and friends, but as an NBA player his stock is uncertain. Would you risk $70,000,000 on someone with his track record? In the end someone will take the chance, but they'll have to exercise extreme patience. DeMarcus Cousins is far from a finished product. You might end up with the second coming of Zach Randolph or you might end up with the second coming of Derrick Coleman. Tough choice.

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