HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — That Draft night chatter about DeMarcus Cousins being the biggest steal or bust in his class is back.
And the early returns are not favorable for Cousins.
In addition to a sluggish start to his rookie season on the court (he’s not even in the top three on the T-Mobile Rookie Ladder), Cousins has not been able to navigate his way out of trouble off the court, either.
Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal didn’t divulge any details, but if he felt the need to toss Cousins out of practice Monday that’s indication enough that trouble is brewing for the young fella, per our main man Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
“It was a necessary move in our continued attempt to help him develop,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal of removing Cousins from practice.
Westphal declined to explain why Cousins made it through only two-thirds of practice.
“I’m not going to get into details,” Westphal said. “He was asked to leave early.”
Cousins is struggling to find his place in the offense and to stay out of foul trouble.
He is one of four rookies averaging double figures in scoring (10.3) and is third among rookies in rebounds (6.7). But Cousins is shooting a team-worst 38.4 percent from the field.
Cousins is averaging 4.2 fouls, most in the NBA. He has fouled out three times this season.
At 4-11 and with a team ready to splinter in seemingly 15 different directions, Westphal is right to make his stand now. (Carl Landry oversleeping and missing a shootaround that cost him his starting job to Jason Thompson, former lottery pick Antoine Wright gets waived and what about the mysterious disappearance of Tyreke Evans … to name a few things that smell funny.)
It’s clear that Cousins and this Kings team are in need of an intervention. And it needs to happen now rather than later, when there is no turning back from a surefire lottery season.
Cousins is far too talented to be allowed to torpedo his first season with immature behavior. We thought he understood that people would be watching his every move to see if his critics were right to pound him in the days and weeks leading up to the Draft, a pounding that probably cost him a slot or two in the Draft.
Clearly, he did not get that message.
Westphal is right to try to stop Cousins from costing himself another minute of another day with an attitude that doesn’t help him succeed in this league.
We fully expected the Rookie of the Year debate to include not only Blake Griffin and John Wall, but Cousins as well. Barring a monstrous turnaround in the next few weeks, Cousins won’t be able to get back into the conversation anytime soon.
He’ll have no one else to blame but himself if that is the case.