Talent will never hold DeMarcus Cousins back. The 6-11, 270 pound behemoth combines supreme coordination with a soft touch and rare offensive knack, traits on full display since he roared onto the national scene as a freshman at the University of Kentucky in 2009-2010. Cousins put his unique package of skills together for a career-best campaign last season, averaging 22.7 points and and 11.7 rebounds per game and posting the NBA’s fifth best PER. Those are numbers reserved for franchise cornerstones and All-NBA performers, but such praise and adulation have been slow to come for Cousins. For as good as Boogie was last season, many believe his notoriously wild temper is still a limiting factor.
It’s tough to argue otherwise. Cousins tied for the league lead in technical fouls in 2013-2014 with 16, and has racked up at least 14 Ts every year he’s been in the league – ranking him among the top-five of all players each season. The flare-ups that don’t garner officiating action can be just as damaging to Cousins as the ones that do, too.
After a brilliant summer with USA Basketball, though, Boogie wants to turn a new page this season. His goal for 2014-2015? No more than five technical fouls, and he’ll be reminded of that lofty aspiration on a near daily basis.
Cousins’ ambition is admirable. Still, we’re dubious he’ll be able to achieve it.
He indeed exhibited new maturity and attitude with the national team this summer – after battling with chairman Jerry Colangelo in the past, Cousins wouldn’t have made the team if he hadn’t. Remember this, though?
It speaks volumes of how far Cousins has to go from an emotional growth standpoint that he was lauded for only miming a punch. He didn’t have to react to Jonas Valanciunas’ elbow at all, let alone nearly incite a fight by acting as if he wanted to start one.
Cousins still has growing up to do despite all he did this summer with Team USA. And as the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones points out above, five technicals would mean Boogie is assessed less than one per month for the season. It’s always good to aim high, but failing to reach that height doesn’t mean progress isn’t made in the process.
10 technical seems a more realistic possibility for Cousins. Regardless, that he’s acknowledged the issue plaguing him is a step in the right direction.
Will Boogie achieve his goal?
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