I thought DeMarcus Cousins would be the starting center for team USA going into training camp. I’m just a big Cousins fan. I thought he would get his act together and be a great piece for the national team. While in training camp it was rumored that Mason Plumlee would make the team over Cousins. He bruised his knee so he missed the scrimmage game. He played well in the exhibition games and he made the team.
Cousins was the backup center. The first big man off the bench. He excelled at this role in limited minutes. He was always solid when he came in. In his first game he had nine points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes against Finland. He had one game when he had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 6 steals.
He was a bully inside on both ends of the floor. He came off the bench and was second behind James Harden in free throw attempts. He went 20-30 from the line and shot 70% from the field. We all worried if he would keep his composure in the tournament. He was a good guy for the most part. He had a hiccup against Lithuania after he caught an elbow to the throat. He held back and didn’t attack anyone.
He had his best game of the tournament in the gold medal game against Serbia. Anthony Davis was in foul trouble and Cousins came in and played great defense. He attacked the glass either to grab a rebound or knock it off the rim so his teammates could get a rebound.
We all know Kyrie Irving and James Harden got hot to put the game away against Serbia but Cousins was a factor in that run. When he picked up his 1st foul at the 5:51 mark team USA was down 14-7. Cousins knew he could not pick up another foul. The U.S. went on a 28-7 run to end the quarter. In that span Cousins just protected the basket without fouling. He had a block and grabbed six rebounds.
After such a good first half he started the second half. The game was in hand and Cousins was a big part of the run to secure gold. He had a great tournament off the bench. He managed to grab 50 rebounds while playing 14 minutes per game. He was also 3rd on the team in total steals.
This was a great experience for him going into the season. He was able to play with teammate Rudy Gay and grow together. He is the leader of the Kings and he needs to take the Kings to the next level. He is the best center in the NBA to me. He has his problems but so do every other player in the league not named Durant and LeBron.
I expect DeMarcus Cousins to have an All-Star season for the Kings. Cousins really wanted to be on this team and he earned it. He played good whenever he was needed. The Kings will only go as far as Cousins takes them.