DeMarcus Cousins Looking to Play ‘Smarter’ This Season

by December 26, 2011
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DeMarcus Cousins talking about his goal of improving his game from between the ears has to sound good to all Sacramento Kings fans, players and coaches. Per the Sac Bee: “Cousins doesn’t blame his teammates’ inability to catch passes for averaging 3.3 turnovers, ninth-most in the NBA. Nor is there complaining about officiating as a reason Cousins led the NBA with an average of 4.1 fouls per game. Then there’s the 43-percent shooting from the field, especially bad for a 6-foot-11 center. Cousins begins his second season tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers with plans to improve all those numbers. Maybe the officials will give Cousins the benefit of the doubt. He also should know what he can get away with when it comes to contact on the court. Cousins, however, knows all improvements begin with him. ‘I’m actually hoping for all of that,’ he said. ‘But it’s really just me playing smarter. But I’ve got to play a lot smarter.’ […] For the Kings to improve, Cousins has to stay on the floor more than the 28.5 minutes he averaged as a rookie.Kings coach Paul Westphal said Cousins learns through experience rather than being told what to do. ‘It’s hard for him to learn by somebody telling him something, but he does learn,’ Westphal said. ‘One of the things about last year was I knew DeMarcus was going to have to play through some mistakes in order to find where the boundaries are. I expect his improvement to be in the areas of shooting percentage, turnovers and fouls.’ […] ‘I think picking his spots comes a little bit better with experience and conditioning,’ Westphal said. ‘You get a little tired sometimes and you try to shove your way through instead of finesse your way through. He’s got the finesse.’ Reflecting on his rookie season, Cousins can point to instances where he didn’t play as smart as he needed to. ‘I’m playing against some of the smaller big men, and I’m trying to take them off the dribble,’ Cousins said. ‘I should be using my body, using my strength. It’s just knowing what to use.'”