Somewhere along the way between last season and this one, DeMarcus Cousins decided to become even more unguardable than he already was. Besides his ball-handling, passing, dunking, midrange shot, and bullish postgame, Boogie added a reliable three-point shot to his arsenal.
With that addition, he said bye-bye to being stopped.
The domination started on opening night, when he drilled 4-5 from deep, dropping 32 on the Clippers. Some said that wouldn’t last. Of the nine contests Cousins has played in this year, he’s made at least 1 three in five of them. His 14 triples this year eclipse his total from his first five years in the League.
Our #SLAMTop50 write-up on Cousins included that he “has a passion for the game that you don’t often see.” That passion is what is setting Boogie apart right now. That man has been in the gym, honing an offensive package that it doesn’t look like anyone can stop.
He muscled Blake Griffin. He took Brook Lopez outside and off the dribble. He rained on Andre Drummond. He babied Jonas Valanciunas. He can beat anybody in any way.
Maybe we should have seen it coming. His always-high confidence grabbed headlines in early October. Cousins is 25, now in his sixth season. This could just be the natural progression of a former top-5 pick, but what other player in the NBA is averaging nearly 2 three-pointers a game, double-digit attempts at the line and double-digit points in the paint? LeBron James. And he’s only at 7.8 free-throws a night. Soak that in.
Cousins is inventing a new breed of center right before our eyes. He’s too strong to stay in front of when he’s motoring towards the bucket. He overpowers smaller defenders that try to strip him. He leaves bigger defenders in the rearview with his handle. And now with a feathery touch from deep, he’s too dangerous to sag off. This man is hitting trail threes off of secondary breaks—at 270 pounds. That makes no sense. He’s still dunking on people with ease and power, too.
There’s nobody in the NBA doing what Boogie is doing. Boogie’s desire to win and get better has separated him. He’s improved at a faster pace than Griffin, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh. His only contemporary is Anthony Davis. Those attitude problems that people were worried about for years? Why not consider those to be a competitive fire burning so bright that it’s launching a completely unique superstar into the prime of his career?
While he’s been on the court, DMC has been an unstoppable force. The Kings are only 5-9, but they haven’t won when the big man hasn’t played. Boogie’s been all about the team this year. He called a players-only meeting early on. He howls to the moon when his guys get and-1s.
Boogie has reinvented himself into a different player and professional. Dude is on another level now. Of course, some things don’t ever change. He already got suspended this year for punching Al Horford. But you gotta love that fire.
photo via Getty Images