Find out how DeMarcus Cousins’ improved all-around play has warranted consideration for the All-Star Game.
On the heels of improving in nearly every statistical category in his sophomore season, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins – averaging an eye-opening 20.7 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.6 steals over the last 10 games – has moved closer to achieving his personal goal of earning his first NBA All-Star selection.
“I think he’s seen that the game can be easy for him,” said Kings Head Coach Keith Smart. “I think he’s trusting his teammates, and yet (as) he’s doing all this – moving the basketball, passing the ball away from scoring opportunities – he’s still up there in that 25-point (range).”
In a 118-96 win over Boston on Dec. 30, 2012, Cousins – exhibiting his exceptional court vision by continuously finding open teammates for easy baskets – racked up his first triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists, joining Vlade Divac and Brad Miller as the third Kings center to accomplish the feat in the Sacramento era.
On the season, the Kentucky product leads all Western Conference centers in scoring (17.7 points per contest) and steals (1.5), and ranks second in assists (2.9) and Player Efficiency Rating (21.4), as well as fourth in rebounds (10.4) and double-doubles (16).
In addition to showcasing his soft outside touch by connecting on midrange jumpers and his quickness by finishing at the basket after swift spin moves, No. 15 has utilized his 6-foot-11 frame to corral caroms at one of the highest clips in the League, ranking among the top 20 in offensive, defensive and total rebound percentage.
“That kid can do it all – (at) almost 7-0, he can handle the ball and put it on the floor, he has a big body, great hands, he can score around the basket and he has a nice touch,” said Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Zach Randolph. “He definitely warrants consideration for All-Star.
“From what I know and from talking to him and being around him, he’s a good kid, too. I just tell him, ‘Keep working, stay positive and just go out there and play hard.’”
Oftentimes unstoppable in the post, Cousins notched a season-high 31 points and a career-high-tying 20 rebounds – the third 30-20 game by a Kings player since 1985 – against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 4, 2013.
“He’s probably been the best big man in the League during the last eight or nine games, the way he’s been playing – scoring the ball, rebounding and just playing unselfishly,” said Isaiah Thomas. “He definitely should be in consideration of being an All-Star.”
“He’s been really dominant – he’s slowing the game up a little bit, picking and choosing his spots and being efficient,” affirmed Jason Thompson. “He’s dominating the game and (it’s earned him) recognition.”
Cousins has not only improved as a scorer and passer, but has also raised his free-throw accuracy from 68.7 percent as a rookie to 78.6 this season, as well as reduced his personal fouls, committing a career-low 3.4 in 2012-13.
“His numbers don’t lie – he should be (an All-Star),” said Marcus Thornton. “It’s on us to help him get there and continue to get wins.”