Kings Head Coach Wants to Turn DeMarcus Cousins into a Passer

by September 02, 2013

Longtime assistant coach Michael Malone is a very hands-on guy. As the new head coach in Sacramento, Malone has the challenge of getting young Kings center DeMarcus Cousins to buy into his basketball philosophy — one that places a premium on defense and ball movement. Malone is working on getting Cousins to become a better passer. Per the SacBee: “The phrase ‘change the culture’ has become such a cliché. What does it even mean? MM: ‘It is a cliché. What I mean is that when you want to change culture, you change people. When the players come back in September, they’re going to get a sense that things are different when they’re around our staff. They can see how hard we work, how committed we are. I’m running sprints last week with DeMarcus Cousins and Travis Outlaw, and they said, ‘Coach, we’ve never had a guy run sprints with us.’ You had DeMarcus running sprints? Where was this? Right across the street, on the track at Inderkum High School. This summer, we had Isaiah Thomas, Jason Thompson, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton working out during the summer league, and we’re all sweating, working. When I went down to Santa Barbara to meet with Patrick Patterson, he said, ‘Coach, I’ve been hearing things.’ This is no knock on Keith Smart or his staff. Keith is a great coach, and the circumstances were far from ideal. But I know for my situation, and my staff, we are going to be a work staff, an energetic staff. Aside from my father, I’ve hired a very young staff. I don’t want any moping around. The other challenge for me, I want our players to embody unity, trust, unselfishness.’ […] So, finally, there is the center position. It’s no secret the organization regards DeMarcus Cousins as a franchise-level talent. How good is he? How much more can he improve? MM: ‘I’ve talked about DeMarcus a lot, but he’s so talented. He’s a big who can play away from the basket. But I’m going to ask him to play inside as well this year, be a guy we can run our offense through at times, because he can be such a good passer. The challenge for him is to cut down on those three turnovers a game. The luxury we had last year at Golden State, we had two bigs (David Lee and Andrew Bogut) who were not only good passers but willing passers. My hope is we get to that at some point.'”