DeMarcus Cousins survived the first series of cuts for Team USA.
Before Paul George’s leg injury became the story of the Team USA/FIBA tryouts, word in the camp was Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins could be cut in favor of Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee.
If Cousins fails to make the roster, the only ones to blame are those who continue to cast his rising star into utter darkness.
The Sacramento Kings have broken ground on a new downtown arena, placing their permanent stake in the city and their hopes of an NBA title on the shoulders of center DeMarcus Cousins
USA Basketball should show the same confidence in the 6’11” 270 lb. man-child.
If Cousins misses out on the FIBA World Championships and ultimately the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, don’t blame Coach Mike Krzyzewski, don’t blame USA Basketball and please don’t look into the direction of Cousins.
Focus on the analysts, journalists and others who have continued to label the talented 23 year-old a head case and malcontent. There’s no denying the fact Cousins has made his share of visits to the NBA league office since becoming the fifth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He’s also made fireworks on the court. With the exception of the 2012-13 campaign, Cousins has improved in every statistical category annually, topping out with a career-high 23 points, 12 rebounds and 3 dimes last season. The Kings went 28-54, their most wins since the 2007-2008 season and despite their struggles in the Western Conference, Cousins signed a four-year extension keeping him in Sac Town through the 2017-2018 season.
The Cousins/Plumlee controversy began when Plumlee — who averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds in his rookie season — presumably outplayed Cousins head to head in their only shift on the court in the Vegas tryouts. Coaches want to add Cousins to the roster, they know he can be effective against the Gasol brothers and other international bigs, but shudder if certain match ups park him on the bench.
Charles Barkley for all his talent, had an drama-filled stint in Philadelphia. In between All-Star appearances, Barkley was a magnet for controversy which included scuffles on and off the court, verbal rants and a spitting incident which he’ll never live down.
When Barkley was selected for the 1992 Men’s Olympic Basketball Team, he was the most outstanding player of the Barcelona Games.
Cousins can have the same impact for Team USA in Rio. We’ll have to wait and see if the indelible ink repeatedly administered to Cousins by those who are suddenly up in arms over this latest development can miraculously be removed as he gains momentum and ultimately the trust of Team USA officials.