Why DeMarcus Cousins Should Have Been an All-Star
Yesterday, the NBA announced the reserves for this year's All-Star Game. Accordingly, the announcement initiated the annual "snubs" discussion. But this year, the discussion is oh so juicy.
Just take a look at this list of the Western Conference reserves.
|Western Conference Reserves|
|Chris Paul||Russell Westbrook|
|James Harden||Klay Thompson|
|Kevin Durant||LaMarcus Aldridge|
Can you see who's missing? There's two obvious ones. One probably pops into your head immediately -- Damian Lillard. But who's the other? Maybe you're like me, and you live on the East Coast, so you forget about him. Or maybe you only watch nationally televised games. Well, if that's the case, I can't blame you. After all, you're not an NBA coach.
But this is a guy NBA coaches should know. Still, it seems like they forgot about DeMarcus Cousins out in Sacramento. Now maybe they didn't forget about him, and there's another reason he was left off the list of Western Conference reserves. But, for whatever reason, his name is no where to be found.
It couldn't possibly be anything he has done (or failed to do) though. Boogie Cousins is having a career year. On a per-game basis, he's putting up career highs in points (23.8), rebounds (12.3) and assists (3.2). Cousins revolutionized his game and he's become the playmaker of the Kings offense. He has a career-high usage rate of 33.6% while assisting on a career-best 18.7% of his team's field goals.
Cousins has seen a small dip in field goal percentage from a year ago. However, Cousins' true shooting percentage of 56% is the best of his five-year career -- and for good reason. While Cousins is averaging just 0.3 more free throw attempts per game (8.7) than a year ago (8.4), he's been much more effective with those attempts, shooting 80% from the free throw line. But even more impressive is that, even after missing 12 games due to injury, Cousins is fifth in the league in free throws.
Cousins is nearly unstoppable, and he belongs with his fellow Western Conference stars. But, you don't need me to tell you that. He's fifth in the Western Conference in points per game, second in rebounds per game, and fifth in PER (25.2). And he's just one of three players in the league to average 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds. The stats speak for themselves.
But, the Kings are only 16-28 and their team nERD of 41.6 is 21st of all 30 NBA teams. What can you do though when your front office fires your coach (who was starting to build something good in Sac-Town) after just 24 games?
Cousins shouldn't be penalized for playing in Sacramento. He's played 11 more games than Kevin Durant, and though he's the reigning MVP, KD's Thunder haven't fared much better than Sacramento. They have a mere five wins on the Kings. DMC leads his team with a nERD of 3.5, and if it weren't for management and injury getting in the way, he may have his Kings in a similar position to that of Anthony Davis and his Pelicans.
It's really hard to argue against the other Western Conference reserves. It wouldn't be hard to put Boogie on the Eastern Conference roster, but the West is packed with great players having great years. Still, DeMarcus Cousins deserves to be in the All-Star game as much as any of them. He might be the single most dominant center in the league, and he's having the best year of his career. He should be first in line to take any spot left by injury.
It would be a shame if we don't get to see Boogie compete against the league's best -- because he is one of the very best the NBA has to offer.