Boogiemonster!: Can DeMarcus Cousins finally get his mind right?


“Which DeMar­cus Cousins is going to show up tonight?” That’s the ques­tion that keeps Coach Mal­one up every night. There’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than hav­ing an all-world tal­ent who is also an all world head­case! Spe­cially when that’s also your fran­chise player. An over­pow­er­ing com­bi­na­tion of size & skill cou­pled with an over­whelm­ing lack of focus.

Let’s start with the raw tal­ent – there is no ques­tion­ing that. He has all the tools. Even the (future) Hall of Famers agree.

The league exists in an era where true big men are scarce, spe­cially world dom­i­nat­ing ones, play­ers who can just phys­i­cally impose their will on both ends of the court, if they so choose. Sure Chan­dler is an elite defender, but his only offen­sive move is the ally-oop. Hib­bert has the size and def­i­nitely the D, but its taken him years, and he lacks the explo­sive­ness and the offense. With his ath­leti­cism dimin­ished, Dwight is fad­ing. Bynum is mulling a retired life at the bowl­ing alley. Marc Gasol is play­ing phe­nom­e­nal, but hon­estly, this is as good as he can get.

But Boo­gie? The days he gets his mind right, he’s pretty unstop­pable already. And the worst part of it is, with some focus, dis­ci­pline and effort (basi­cally a com­plete atti­tude over­haul) he could be dev­as­tat­ing. The type of player that other teams retool their ros­ter for. Com­mand­ing triple teams. Run­ning the offense out of the post, hit­ting cut­ters & shoot­ers. Skilled enough to step out on occa­sion and face up, hit jumpers, stretch the D. Quick enough to grab the rebound & lead the break. Intim­i­dat­ing enough on D to dis­rupt an entire team’s inside game.

Play­ers can often do some of these things and even just that is enough to make them great. DeMar­cus can do it all. But the way things look, there’s really no guar­an­tee that he ever will actu­ally do it.

With this sea­son, and the con­tract exten­sion, with Tyreke gone, with all the Kings chips invested solely in him, we thought we’d see a new DC. Open­ing night it seemed like it.


And then true to form, there were more sight­ings of the old DC. The bad body lan­guage. Lack of effort. Lazy offense. Rel­e­gated to the bench for sig­nif­i­cant chunks of game time. And the con­se­quent pile up of Ls for the Kings.

Last night against the Suns, the story flipped. They clamped down in the forth and he led them to a strong come­back vic­tory, punc­tu­ated at the defen­sive end with his trauma induc­ing block that pos­si­bly erased the even the mar­ginal traces of con­fi­dence PJ Tucker had in his already mea­gre offen­sive game.

Was this game a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in the nar­ra­tive of Cousins? Was this where he turned the cor­ner… for good? Or was he just teas­ing us with his immense game chang­ing poten­tial yet again.

Its not like big men with bad atti­tudes haven’t even­tu­ally fig­ured it out. But it usu­ally involves a change of scenery, a change of cul­ture. No one thought Z-Bo could be saved till he finally bought in to the Grizz’s sys­tem and then did this… (it did take him 4 teams and 10 sea­sons to do this though)

Play­ers need teams as much as teams need play­ers. Rasheed needed the Pis­tons. Web­ber needed the Kings. Kazaam needed Phil & the Lakers.

Some­times that doesn’t hap­pen. Some­times all that tal­ent can go to waste. Some­times the great­est play­ers in the his­tory of the game just give us the teaser, but the we never get to the fea­ture pre­sen­ta­tion. Just ask Der­rick Cole­man, the orig­i­nal DC.

And when it’s all said and done, lets hope Cousins’ career wikipedia epi­taph reads noth­ing like Coleman’s.

When Cole­man entered the NBA, he was com­pared to elite power for­wards such as Karl Mal­one and Charles Barkley, and expected to put up sim­i­lar num­bers, only with the added abil­ity to shoot from three-point range. Instead, his career was over­shad­owed by his ques­tion­able atti­tude (lack of work ethic result­ing in exces­sive weight gain, plus alco­hol abuse and gen­eral dis­rup­tive behavior)”.



Dev Kabir Malik has a clinically alarming dependence on basketball and spends most of his time watching, analyzing, writing and even playing a little pickup (and some 2K too). In the little time he has left, he dabbles with design, art & music.