Cousins: It Takes A (Kings’) Village

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Let’s say DeMarcus Cousins is accurate. Let’s say his account of what led to the second technical foul and ejection Monday night in Salt Lake City is court-stenographer verbatim and that he didn’t say anything beyond calling one of the referees an “effing female,” according to what Cousins told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee after the game.

It doesn’t matter.

Cousins moved to a special place on the NBA radar  in November with a two-game suspension for leaving the locker room after a game, still in uniform, and, in the words of the league, “confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner.” The turbulent Kings center knows he is under a particularly powerful microscope, that past acts will cost him in the future, and that he has no leeway with refs. And yet he keeps inviting trouble.

This is on Cousins. There is no one else to blame for 2 1/2 seasons of anger and maturity issues, and the season before that at Kentucky as teammates quickly learned of his temper. One person and one person only is costing Cousins money in suspensions and his team wins when the best player on the roster is getting an early shower or out of the arena entirely on suspension.

But how does no one on the Kings get Cousins out of harm’s way long before he could get a male referee submit to a gender exam? The greater question is how anyone let him get within shouting distance of Elliott courtside that November night in Sleep Train Arena. Out of the locker room, maybe, because team personnel are busy after games and not exactly keeping an eye out for unprecedented actions from a specific player. But out the door, through the tunnel, back on the court and nearly to the other end of the court, about 30 yards, all while in uniform, and nobody threw up a detour.

Maybe that happens because no one could imagine it happening. Maybe. The Elliott incident, though, should have been the final sign that Cousins is incapable of controlling his emotions, despite the grossly oversold stories that coach Keith Smart is reaching him, and that all the Kings have to deal with it.

It is not the perfect solution. It certainly is not the fair solution. But the Kings’ best chance to win is if he plays, and so this is everybody’s problem. That may be babysitting, but that’s also the truth.

As long as Cousins is on the team – there never has been an indication from around the league or within the organization that management looked hard at any trade – the team will have to deal with it. Players, coaches, support staff, the guy driving the bus on the road. At the first sign of rising blood pressure, someone has to stay between Cousins and referees. A teammate has to stay in his ear about remaining focused only on the next play.

Monday at Utah, he got the second technical leaving the court before halftime. That can’t happen.

“Before that, (the referees) tell us if you have a problem with them, come talk to them,” Cousins was quoted as saying by Jones. “They give us permission to do that. I tried to wait until the play was over. I waited until the play stopped, I went up to the ref… he kept telling me, ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, I don’t want to talk to you.’ So I waited until halftime. He said the same thing… he was saying, ‘Don’t talk to me.’ So my response was, ‘You don’t have to act like an effing female.’ I shouldn’t have said that. That’s about it.”

Cousins is right about one thing. Refs will have explanations/conversations with players and coaches during a stop in play. That just doesn’t mean a player with his history is going to get too far inside that buffer zone.

A veteran teammate or coach, schooled in the ways of dealing with officials, could have had the conversation for him. At the very least, one of them should have been aware Cousins had an issue and done everything possible to get him away from the referees. As long as he is on the team, this is a team issue.

11 Comments

  1. NBA guru says:

    they need an old guy whos experienced like a grant hill or kurt thomas or someone cuz its like the wizards all over again

  2. Hm says:

    So basically, he got fed up with self-righteous referees and said a “nasty” word. I blame the referees in this case.

  3. Ro says:

    I’d have to say there is no bigger tool in the league than Cousins. He is a child and will never be good. But honestly, why couldnt the ref let him ask a question? If he acts rudely then T him up or throw him out. But dont be all high and mighty like college refs and refuse to answer a question. You have control of the situation as a ref. Maybe the ref should grow up too. Im not defending Cousins cos he is a joke, but just let him ask his question and dont be a stubborn little baby about it

  4. paolo says:

    Zenith I still believe that Tyreke Evans is the franchise player of the Kings

  5. mike says:

    don’t forget “Metta”

  6. mike says:

    he is just the next overpaid star, how never will be great!!!
    let him work from 9 to 5 for living and then we will see!!
    grou up child!!! you are a waist of talent and roster space!
    with this acting you shoul be a bouncer in a club and not a star basketball player!!!

  7. Chester says:

    Its derrick coleman all over again. Talent to be the best big man in the game, but wasted on cousins

  8. Bill Breidenthal says:

    Refs won’t have conversations with players who demean them publicly. That is undoubtedly the reason the ref would not explain the reason for the first tech, as it would mean repeating the first derogatory comment by Cousins.

    No way this was anyone’s but Cousins fault.

    Smart was late, as noted, trying to save the day, but Cousins simply repeated his inane insult, as if to emphasize that Smart could not control him.

  9. zenith says:

    its official….talent wasted on him..they could have won that game and instead, because he can’t control his temper, it went the other way around..such a joke! can’t believe he’ll be the franchise player of his team (or already is) and this is how he plays..such a waste.