Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I realized something today.
It's been five months since I last made a DeMarcus Cousins reference in one of my articles.
What? For me, that's like going five months without breathing. Cousins jokes used to be my bread and butter.
To the archives!
May 3, 2013
"[Dwight] Howard, the most out of control hoopster in the NBA not named DeMarcus Cousins (Cousins is probably burning a small village as we speak), is about as unpredictable as Mike Tyson's Twitter timeline."
Zing! Talk about two birds. I roasted two of the NBA's best centers and a former heavyweight champion, all in one sentence.
Here's another one.
April 3, 2013
"Cousins recently became the first player to surrender his naming rights to a corporation. From now until May 2018 when the McDonald's promotion ends, Cousins will be known as DeMarcus McRib."
That's right. I predicted Cousins would follow in Metta World Peace's footsteps and legally change his last name. It hasn't happened yet, but just wait. When Mickey D's finally gets tired of running Joe Flacco commercials (which should be by the end of this sentence), they'll come to their senses and give Cousins an offer he can't refuse.
And then there was this.
March 17, 2013
"Cousins should be averaging 20 and 13. Instead, fantasy owners have been forced to settle for 17 and 10 with the next suspension or benching usually only a couple of games away. Maybe Cousins will grow out of this Rasheed Wallace 'mad at the world' phase, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon."
Need a shrink, Boogie? I heard Lucy only charges a nickel.
February 14, 2013
"Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins went to Kentucky for two semesters. It didn't make him any more grown-up. Just ask Keith Smart."
No, it didn't. Kind of bizarre that I mentioned Cousins on both Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. He's a festive individual I guess.
September 27, 2012
"Simply put, Cousins is a fantasy monster. And he just turned 22 a little over a month ago. The blow-up potential is definitely there ... in more ways than one."
Wow, that was a long time ago. It's almost like Boogie and I have been growing up together (Technically, we have. We were both born the same year.).
Some people have strong views on politics. Others talk Game of Thrones.
And me? Well, I have DeMarcus Cousins.
So what's Boogie up to these days?
A lot, actually. Over the summer, the Kings decided to stay in Sacramento (sorry, Sonics fans), got a couple new owners (Bye, Maloofs) and chose to build their team around none other than Boogie himself.
Oh yeah. And Shaquille O'Neal is a minority owner now.
So, for better or worse, things have changed pretty dramatically in Sactown since last season ended. Except for Boogie, of course.
Sure, Cousins may have a few extra dollars in his bank account (he signed a four-year, $62 million max extension last month) and a new cast of teammates (Greivis Vasquez, Carl Landry and Ben McLemore to name a few). But mostly, the Cousins we all know and love is still the same.
But should fantasy owners love the 2013-14 version of Cousins?
Here we are, 500 words into the article and we're finally getting around to the important part.
Better late than never, I suppose. The same strategy could be applied to Cousins on draft day.
The simple fact of the matter is, Cousins can't shoot (44.8 percent shooter in three seasons). That's not likely to improve much with the infamous Hack-a-Shaq as his new mentor.
Cousins actually shot a career-best 46.5 percent from the field in 2012-13 but that was only because he attempted fewer field goals per game (13.8 last season, 15.6 in 2011-12).
But remember, in fantasy, percentage isn't necessarily what we're after. Volume is just as important. And with Tyreke Evans gone, that could relieve part of the problem for Cousins.
Or it could make things worse.
Tyreke's replacement, Greivis Vasquez, may come with the pass-first label (he was third in the league in assists in 2012-13), but in reality he actually took more shots per game than Evans did last season (13.0 to Evans' 11.6). Plus, rookie Ben McLemore from Kansas will want the rock also (15.9 ppg in his only season at college). So Sacramento isn't quite the shot paradise that it seems.
Also troubling is the fact that Cousins was noticeably less aggressive on the boards last season (9.9 rpg compared to 11.0 in 2011-12) while continuing to freak out Nic Cage style every time a call didn't go his way (led the league with 17 technicals and four ejections). The jury is still out on whether or not Cousins' erratic behavior will change under Shaq's tutelage.
The good news is that Cousins' health hasn't been an issue. He's only missed ten games in his first three seasons. The same can't be said of fellow big men Dwight Howard and Brook Lopez (combined 91 absences since the start of 2010).
Another good thing about Boogie is that he won't kill you at the free throw line. Cousins knocked down almost 74 percent of his attempts last season, 11th- best among qualified centers.
So at the end of the day, what we have is a raw but undeniably talented 23- year-old with enough baggage to fill a commercial airline.
There's no bold prediction this season, no "breakout year" talk. Just a reasonable expectation that Cousins, tattoos, technicals and all, will be exactly what it says on the back of his jersey: Cousins.
Unless, of course, he changes his name to McRib. Then all bets are off.