DeMarcus Cousins ripped his team for a lack of effort following the Sacramento Kings’ blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. After watching portions of the game and one clip in particular, it’s easy to see why the first-time All-Star was so frustrated – Boogie clearly gave all he had against the Mavs.
This is the 6-10, 270(+) pound Cousins rumbling for a chase-down block of the fleet-footed Monta Ellis in the third quarter despite the game being out of reach:
If you’re gonna talk the talk…
And Cousins certainly did. Below is a video and partial transcription of the 24 year-old’s incendiary post-game comments. Not only does he pull no punches, but also takes responsibility for the Kings’ malaise:
DeMarcus Cousins: It comes down to playing hard, man. Get some pride. Have some self-respect. Act like you care. That’s what it’s coming down to. Ain’t nothing wrong with the team – it’s the same team. Same team that was winning [early this season] is the same guys in the locker room now. Ain’t nothing changed but the attitudes of these guys in the room – everybody in this room. That’s the only thing that’s changed: our attitudes…
Q: Is this the most frustrated you’ve been in your five years in Sacramento?
Q: How do you get this team moving in the right direction?
DC: Only thing I can do is lead by example. That’s the only thing I can do. Keep trying to lead, keep leading by example. My body language has been bad as well. I need to straighten it out myself. I gotta lead by example.
Remember the mega-talented hot-head whose effort came and went throughout the flow of a game? The player that many – including yours truly, by the way – assumed wouldn’t live up to the max contract extension Sacramento gave him before last season?
Obviously, Cousins isn’t that guy anymore. He can be too intense. His body language can indeed improve. And he’s still prone to lapses of lethargy and defensive neglect from time to time as well.
But this is what a leader sounds and looks like, and Boogie has walked that walk all season long. No King was more displeased with the abrupt December firing of Mike Malone than Cousins. Instead of lashing out at franchise higher-ups or letting it effect his play, though, the big man toed the company line and insisted Sacramento – with Ty Corbin at the helm – could right the ship.
And though that’s been proven otherwise, what hasn’t is Cousins’ steady development into an ideal organizational cornerstone.
There’s no leadership rule book. Active and passive approaches to guidance can both be effective if utilized correctly. But Cousins embodies the new generation’s approach, and it’s one shared by contemporaries like Kevin Durant, John Wall, and others.
When something needs to be fixed, these guys will let their teammates know about it. Not through intimidation or physical force like bullies of the past, but pointed words and play on the floor.
This is a lost season from a competitive standpoint for the Kings. In the long-run, though, Sacramento may look back on it as an integral time of Cousins’ evolution – his all-encompassing attitude is rapidly catching up to his nearly unmatched basketball impact.
And though it hasn’t and likely won’t mean many wins for the Kings now, it’s a wildly encouraging sign of success to come.
What do you think?
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