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Friday, October 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm  |  62 responses

Top 50: DeMarcus Cousins, no. 29

Capable of greatness each night, DMC should have a big ’13-14 campaign.

by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad

Roughly 18 months ago, I had a conversation with uber-talented Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. At the time, DMC was optimistic about new Sac-Town head coach Keith Smart. He raved about their relationship, about how they both loved seafood. He said he would be passing Dwight Howard as the best center in the NBA soon. He stressed to me he was misunderstood.

Fast-forward to the present, and DMC has yet another new coach—the Kings’ third in as many seasons—and Cousins still has the same question marks about talent vs attitude lingering around him. They’re not even questions anymore, actually. Cousins doesn’t care what people think of him. “I’m always somebody that’s going to speak my mind. That usually gets me in trouble, but at the end of the day, I’m going to speak my mind,” he said in that same interview.

But what’s troublesome is that now that we’ve all basically dealt with his “misunderstood” title, what’s left is a guy who, on raw talent alone, should be much, much higher on this list. There’s no reason, given his physical gifts and his youth (he turned 23 in August), that Cousins should be ranked behind some of the other centers yet to come in the SLAM Top 50.

Despite his deficiencies in terms of his demeanor, we’ve collectively agreed that his talent itself is enough to make him a better player than the likes of Zach Randolph, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol. And yet, the reality remains that every single one of those players has done more to prove themselves as consistent, productive, reliable players in the NBA than Cousins has. Like, way more.

Last season, DMC’s numbers dipped from 18.1 ppg and 11.0 rpg to 17.1 and 9.9—a nominal difference but not the direction we expected prior to last season, when he ranked No. 28 on this very ladder. A year more experienced, how is it that Cousins is moving in the wrong direction? Or… is he? How long can we blame his inability to jump into the level of superstar—heck, just to make an All-Star team—on the ever-present and somewhat valid “the Kings are just dysfunctional” excuse?

For a guy who said he wanted to be like Tim Duncan, “it” just hasn’t happened yet. And given the constant turnover and turmoil in Sacramento, is it for certain that it ever will?

It’s all these questions and more that make DMC one of the most polarizing players to rank each season. The dude dominates on certain nights, then disappears on others. Looks like an unstoppable powerhouse down low on one possession, then spaces out on defense the next trip down. He’s as maddening as he is capable.

The Kings believe in Cousins. We know this because he just inked a four-year, $62 million contract extension. With great power, though (er, cheese) comes great responsibility. What comes next for Cousins will be a big test—can he lift the Kings to new heights, or at least, say, a winning season? A season of more than 28 wins? Or will he continue to tease fans with his abilities and torment coaches with his antics?

A year from now, DMC won’t fall between 25 and 30 in the SLAM Top 50. He’ll either get his **** together and at long last be a top-15 player or begin a disappointing slide toward the back of the bus, in which we all finally agree the light bulb will never go on for him.

This season, he’ll have the help of a true pass-first point guard in Greivis Vasquez, who is not a worldbeater but does know how to get teammates the ball in the right spots. He averaged more than twice as many assists (9.0) last season than any player on the Kings.

I, like most of you (I think), am rooting for DeMarcus to flip the switch this season and just start dominating underneath. Enough finesse, Cuz. Just back ‘em down and dunk on their asses. OK, so it’s not that simple, though sometimes, for DMC, it feels like it should be. We say it every single year, because it’s the truth: If his coach (the latest: Mike Malone) can summon, and harness, the utmost effort from Cousins, he’ll be one of the scariest players in the L. If not, he’ll be one of the biggest salary cap albatrosses we’ve ever seen, and he may be looking for a new home come the trade deadline.

Where should DeMarcus Cousins rank in the SLAM Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2013
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Monta Ellis Mavs SG 5
49 Luol Deng Bulls SF 10
48 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 14
47 Greg Monroe Pistons PF 12
46 Kawhi Leonard Spurs SF 9
45 Mike Conley Grizzlies PG 13
44 Al Jefferson Bobcats C 9
43 David Lee Warriors PF 11
42 Jrue Holiday Pelicans PG 12
41 Anthony Davis Pelicans PF 10
40 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
39 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 9
38 Kevin Garnett Nets PF 8
37 Rudy Gay Raptors SF 8
36 Paul Pierce Nets SF 7
35 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 11
34 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 7
33 Al Horford Hawks C 8
32 Andre Iguodala Warriors SF 6
31 Brook Lopez Nets C 7
30 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 6
29 DeMarcus Cousins Kings C 6

Rankings are based on expected contribution in ’13-14—to players’ team, the League and the game.

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  • Hum

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dundler

    As I said yesterday, situation is critical for how good you can be. And the Kings aren’t exactly ideal

  • AlbertBarr

    Everything around cousins is stable now. The ownership, the coaching staff, a better balanced team—he really does need to put together a good statistical season and do it without too much drama (some is welcome because otherwise it wouldn’t be DMC!). I don’t think it will translate to wins even if he does play great. The last piece of the Kings transforming is changing the culture and that is a process. I see a lot of losing for the Kings regardless of the game DMC puts together over the course of a season. We barely have a small forward and no back up center. The roster still needs a lot of work. And we don’t have the personnel, outside of Prince Luc, to play great team D so that will be a bigger hurdle to more W’s.

  • spit hot fiyah

    “And the Kings aren’t exactly ideal” understatement of the summer

  • Omar

    Giving a jackass a bunch of money isn’t going to make him less of a jackass.

  • ctk

    His last season for me to live off that so talented Big man label …he is what he is after rhjz season …good,bad,or ugly

  • ChosenOne

    …and last to get laid.

  • ctk

    This

  • AlbertBarr

    I think everyone saying Sacramento isn’t an ideal place doesn’t realize what life under the maloofs was like. Now that they are gone, this is a whole new franchise. It will take time but it is a great city and the organization will be great again.

  • Caboose

    Hey SLAMily, nbk and I have put together a fantasy league. Pretty standard stuff, but if you’re interested, let me know. The L is invitation only and I want to keep it within SLAM as much as possible. 12 teams maximum. Bragging rights on the line.

    Oh and Cousins is Derrick Coleman 2.0

  • AndyK415

    Money or just for fun?

  • Caboose

    Fun. And to say that I beat all y’all.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    FIXED: *most of y’all*

  • AndyK415

    Ha I’m interested.

  • Caboose

    And it begins.

  • Caboose

    Send me an email to alexhbennett@berkeley.edu with your username. I’ll then send you an invite from the L.

  • LakeShow

    Co-Sign D-Cuz being Derrick Coleman.

    Let’s see if he can break through and become the L’s best center one day though. He’s certainly talented as anyone. I think he does have his best year this year. There is a bit of stability around him in Sac-Town. He has his money(security)… Which means he’ll A) Grow up, B) Go down…

  • Caboose

    The influence of Greivis can’t be overstated. The last time the Kings had a true pg was…Bibby?

  • Anthony Darnello Taylor Jr.

    I want in

  • spit hot fiyah

    my thoughts exactly, he is first guard that they have had in forever that probably thinks let me pass the ball to someone else instead of launching this fade away 20 footer

  • Anthony Darnello Taylor Jr.

    nellodee24@gmail.com is where you can reac me best

  • Caboose

    It means that Isaiah can channel his inner Bobby Jackson

  • spit hot fiyah

    “Despite his deficiencies in terms of his demeanor,
    we’ve collectively agreed that his talent itself is enough to make him a
    better player than the likes of Zach Randolph, Brook Lopez, Al Horford,
    Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol.”

    who are the we you are referring to in this sentence? KG and Pau?!?!?! that is very much up for debate

  • spit hot fiyah

    that would be a better role for him

  • Karl

    Hey Caboose, were you in the same league I was in last year? I was HappyChappy. I’d like to join again

  • davidR

    when are you planning on drafting?

  • Karl

    Even though we’re at Number 29 on the Countdown now, i still think Andre Drummond deserved a spot from 40-50. The shackles are off this year. We’re going to see how he performs with a 30+ minute average. We don’t have to estimate on his per 36 averages anymore. He’ll live up to the hype and expectation.

  • Caboose

    EDIT EDIT EDIT

    October 25, 6:30 pm

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    gonna have to change that. or i won’t be apart of it
    .
    i’m the best man in a wedding that night. so i can’t even sneak that i’m not paying attention.

  • Caboose

    I lied, October 25, 6:30pm.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol, much better. hopefully i don’t have rehearsal dinner
    -
    i have a buddy who can handle the draft for me, i’ll just text him my picks and he can sort out the rest. it’s close to having me do the draft, plus i’ll make up for it by taking advantage of free agents and such.

  • Caboose

    For sure, can you remind me of your email again? Or just send it to me at alexhbennett@berkeley.edu

  • Caboose

    DO NOT QUESTION THE COUNCIL -force choke-

  • Dundler

    Im in. Will email you with my email address

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    I agree Vasquez is a great distributor.

    What’d think about shaq’s influence on demarcus. I don’t know what kind of advice shaq will provide because his game was predicated on his physical dominance where as demarcus has a more finesse approach to his game.

  • danpowers

    can i join, too?

  • Jswagbo

    I want in tooo Jeffnwagbo@gmail.com

  • MUBWAR

    make the league bigger

  • MUBWAR

    n i want in 2

  • Caboose

    Send me an email, alexhbennett@berkeley.edu

  • Caboose

    Invite sent

  • Caboose

    So confirmed guys so far are

    Caboose
    nbk
    Retrobat
    AndyK415

    Invites have been sent to

    danpowers
    Jswagbo
    Anthony Darnello Taylor Jr

    Still need e-mail addresses from

    Dundler
    MUBWAR
    Happy Chappy

  • Caboose

    The only thing about Drummond is that his FT% is hovering at about half of his FG%. If Drummond gets any clean touches, teams are gonna foul the sh!t out of him with that Biedrins like free throw stroke.

  • Dundler

    Mine should be with you, let me know if not and I’ll resend

  • Caboose

    Try again man, make sure it’s alexhbennett@berkeley.edu

  • Dundler

    Have resent. If it doesn’t work I’ll try using diff email

  • Caboose

    Gotcha

  • Dundler

    Nice one

  • Dundler

    Oh good. I forgot about the time difference haha

  • MUBWAR

    done

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he is not playing 30 minutes a game this season. hate to burst your bubble, probably not even 25

  • Lucentum

    I was in you league last season (Lucentum) amd I would like to play again – in Panama nobody plays. Let me know if its possible. Thank you in advance though.

    card89@yahoo.com

  • Caboose

    Gotcha covered

  • russian guy

    Greg Monroe will be better.DeMarcus Cousins hurts his team.

  • russian guy

    If he is healthy,he will play 25.He is just too good to sit.His rookie numbers are historic.

  • Lucentum

    I wrote you an email to the address you listed below, but just in case, I put a wrong email on the comment above, its: cardel89@yahoo.com

    If it’s still possible to get in, I’d really appreciate it.

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