Cousins is crushing Kings’ chemistry


When it comes to appearances, NBA players perfectly define the physical expectations associated with adulthood. They are towering athletic specimens boasting huge wingspans, broad shoulders, and muscular legs. They perform their sport with such a natural fluidity and grace that it appears easy and effortless. Yet beneath their adult exteriors, many of them possess the minds of children. Nowhere else is this better exemplified then within the spoiled little psyche of second year Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins,whose immature and selfish behavior is already starting to tear his team’s rebuilding efforts to shreds.

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins may be a big reason why former coach Pasul Westphal was fired after just seven games. Photo by: USACEpublicaffairs/Flickr

Cousins made national sports headlines last week for losing his cool and engaging coach Paul Westphal in a shouting match demanding to be traded. Westphal reacted by sending Cousins home and issued the following statement:

“Everything that happens on a team does not become known to the public. This is how it should be. However, when a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely.”

Just a few days later, Westphal was fired and replaced by Keith Smart. This is just the beginning of the damage Cousins is going to inflict on Sacramento.

Now there were decently logical grounds for firing Westphal: a 2-5 record, past trade demands by multiple other players, and inconsistent team growth. Yet, we all know the reason he was truly fired: he couldn’t build a solid relationship with their 21-year old center of the future.

Westphal had enough on his plate trying to revive a franchise whose legacy was synonymous with underachievement and defeat. He had to manage and control a roster of young talents and at the same time build them into a post-season caliber squad. The last thing he needed was the petulance and immaturity frothing from the mouth of DeMarcus Cousins, the franchise’s crown jewel who they’ll stop at nothing to please. Westphal is only the first casualty of the cancer that is DeMarcus Cousins.

Westphal wasn’t the only individual within the Kings organization who was unhappy with Cousins’ attitude and demeanor.

An unknown team source stated, “He’s always angry or clowning. He needs to change. The Kings have been great about covering things up for him, and his agent has been protecting him.”

Another source proclaimed, “He’s a bully, and they let him get away with it. No one wants to deal with the guy.”

Upon hearing the official statement Westphal issued regarding his rational for sending Cousins home, Cousins’ agent John Greig replied by saying: “I have no idea what the Kings are doing. The fact that I’m just finding out about this announcement now speaks volumes about them.”

Way to just blast your client’s team Greig. Way to attack the team that has rested millions of dollars and the future of the franchise on your client’s shoulders. Way to vilify them and make it sound like it’s them, not your client, that has a problem.

Cousins’ entire basketball career has been defined by volatile behavior worthy of a five-year old. He displayed numerous well-documented character issues while playing at Kentucky and constantly engaged in verbal arguments with Coach John Calipari. Going into the draft, his immense talent was never in question, but his character issues did raise alarm. The Kings took a chance on him, drafting him fifth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. Yet even since entering the NBA, Cousins has consistently demonstrated his inability to conduct himself in a mature and orderly manner, clashing with coaches, assistants, trainers, and teammates.

It’s truly a shame because he’s a very talented true center at 6’11 who sports an impressive inside game and displays a degree of athleticism rare for his position. But what’s even more tragic is how the consequences of his actions are affecting the Kings. They have some exciting and young talent in the forms of Tyreke Evans, J.J. Hickson, Marcus Thornton, and Jimmer Fredette. Yet all that potential is going to burn flaming to the ground if their center cannot grow up and become a team player.

In only his second season of professional basketball, Cousins has already evolved from a minor annoyance to full on team cancer. Unless he can learn to grow up, his negative and contemptuous attitude will only continue to bring down those around him.

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