Last month, I wrote a post previewing a contest between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings in which DeMarcus Cousins was heavily featured. Indeed, Boogie has talent, but up to that point in the season he wasn’t doing his best to maximize it, choosing instead to make poor decisions for the most part with the ball. Here’s a quick excerpt of my take on the talented big man:

Furthermore, the former Wildcat has a mean streak reminiscent of Shaquille O’Neal. Indeed, he often looks like he wants to dominate opponents and make them cry into submission because of his impressive skills. He barks at guys on other teams, talks to officials and might even throw in a few disparaging remarks here and there because he knows he can walk the walk on most nights.

And yet, for all of his gifts, Cousins might just be the big man version of Allen Iverson; and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

For lack of a better term, the Kentucky product was playing selfish basketball.

He often camped out on the perimeter and fired away contested shots, failed to get his teammates involved and coughed up the ball because he took poor driving angles to attack the hoop and tried to plow through a group of defenders camped out in the paint.

Needless to say, Cousins’ play was subpar and it affected how his teammates played.

After the post was written, the Kings’ forward was suspended roughly about a week later due to a dustup with head coach Keith Smart. Boogie Cousins returned from his suspension a changed player.

That last sentence fails to capture just how impressive the talented center has been in his return; so scratch it and use this instead: DeMarcus Cousins is playing like a franchise player in the six games since rejoining the Sacramento Kings.

He’s essentially been dominant as of late in every facet of the game.

The former Wildcat is avoiding just camping out on the perimeter to take ill-advised shots, and is instead driving the ball to the hoop with much more frequency to create high percentage shots at the rim or feeding cutting teammates.

His game has focused much more on playing on the interior where he can do much more damage against opponents and also allow his teammates to play within their roles.

Have a look at his production prior and after his suspension:



















The sample size is obviously small — a mere six games — but we can clearly see that DMC’s numbers have taken a big spike since his dismissal from the team and it’s been a more than welcomed contribution from Boogie.

The Sacramento offense looks a little better with Cousins on the court these days, as players share the ball much more freely as opposed to simply playing for themselves as was the case earlier in the season.

The Cousins transformation has not only impacted his own game, but it’s had a positive effect on all of the team.’s advanced stats tool tells us that in the 23 games that DeMarcus played prior to his suspension, the Kings produced 96.3 points, 18.4 assists and 15 turnovers per 48 minutes on 43.8 percent field goal shooting. At that point in time, Sacramento was minus-seven with Cousins on the court.

If we compare that to the last six games, it’s night and day. Per, with Cousins on the court, Sacramento is now producing 105.8 points, 23.4 assists and 10.8 turnovers per 48 minutes on 46.2 percent field shooting. During this last string of games, the Kings been plus-8.9 with 6’11’’ center on the court.

Again, it’s worth noting that the sample size is relatively small, and that the volatile Cousins could potentially blow up at his teammates or his coaching staff; but the way he’s played in his return only validates the interest of multiple general managers in the often-troubled big man.

When he feels like it, DMC is not only a stud player, he is a dominant talent with All-NBA first team potential written all over him.

It’s tough to say whether this trend will remain as is for the rest of the season, but the Kings certainly hope so. A level headed Cousins is not only great for Sacramento in terms of building the team around him, but should the franchise decide to jettison him, they are much more likely to get a great trade package for him if he is producing Kevin Garnett-type numbers from his days in Minnesota.

The Cousins rebirth not only affects the Pacific Division, but possibly the landscape of the NBA should another team get their hands on him.

But until that time comes (if it ever does), DeMarcus Cousins is the most talented center in the NBA, and he’s currently playing like it.

Statistical support provided by

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