The Jackson 5 described in their 1978 hit song what a burden being inflicted with the “boogie” could be. This common term, synonymous with the strange era of 70s disco dance, describes having an infliction resulting in an all-night dancing binge. This uncontrollable fever clearly becomes problematic when that is all a person is possessed to do for hours on end. Actions that occur throughout a night, presumably horrible dancing, can all be blamed on one single factor, that menace known as the boogie. This term can also signify good times, emotions, and flows of positive energy. DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins on-court ups and downs can relate to the sentiments echoed by the Jackson 5 those many years ago, as he continues to work towards the good side of the “boogie” and let go of the bad.
In true Jekyll and Hyde fashion, Cousins game can become a revelation of unstoppable young talent, but just as quickly the youth can become a reminder of just how much maturation remains. Cousin’s uncontrollable outbursts and abundance of technical fouls have drawn the ire of referees around the league. One year after committing an astounding 16 technical fouls, Boogie has committed to reducing this number to less than 5 for the upcoming season. However, if the current preseason is any indication (already 2 techs committed), Cousins is still failing to control Boogie’s temper.
This season Boogie must not succumb to the negative emotions resulting in verbal altercations and poor displays of body language. These repetitive actions have dogged his reputation dating back to his Kentucky days. With a strong performance for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup all signs indicate Cousins is prepared leave his immature on court decisions in the past.
Cousin’s natural basketball talent has never been questioned. His temper and on court demeanor have. Arguments with coaches, teammates, and referees have stained his professional reputation. The potential has flashed in spurts, from a high school standout, to John Wall’s partner in crime at Kentucky (where he received his popular moniker), to his young NBA career. He just may be the savior of the center position in an evolving league determined to phase the position out. With the Western Conference lacking in true centers, the stage is set for the Kings big man to not only make his first all-star team, but to become one of the most dominating forces in the league for the next decade.
Cousins, enters another season with heightened expectations, but once again those expectations are tempered by question marks regarding his maturity and growth. His monster fourth season is indicative of the dominating presence he can be. The 2013-14 season was his best to date, with scoring and rebounding numbers climbing to 22.7ppg and 11.7rpg. This came as a steady improvement from a disappointing, yet solid third season, averaging 17.1ppg and 9.9rpg in 2012-13. Boogies range has been slowly creeping away from the basket . Cousins shot around 42% from 16-24 feet and has been working to increase his percentage from outside this summer. The present NBA requires big men to step out and knock down a 15-17 footer, however the majority of bigs are falling in love with playing away from the basket. Kings coaches should remind him to maintain a healthy balance of inside-out.
Criticism remains regarding his play on the defensive end as well as cutting back on his career high 3.5 turnovers per game (Through 6 preseason games Boogie averaged an outrageously high 5.5 TPG). Defense throughout his career has been an afterthought and must improve to give the Kings a rim protector and defensive anchor. Boogie led the league with 3.8 personal fouls committed per game. His shot blocking improved but at the expense being vulnerable to committing a foul, as his 0.34 blocks per personal foul statistic indicates. Nevertheless, Cousins has excited Kings fans with his impressive performance competing for USA Basketball this past summer, earning lavish praise from some of the game’s best players and minds.
International basketball competition is hailed as a way for nations to unite, while globally spreading the game’s popularity. Young NBA players use international basketball competition, particularly Team USA basketball, as a seminar on becoming a true professional. It is a crash course for inexperienced players looking to improve and expand their games in the redundancy of summer workouts and training. Being surrounded with hall of fame basketball minds (Coach K & Jim Boeheim) and highly respected NBA head coaches (Tom Thibodeau & Monty Williams), Cousins was able to experience for the first time in his professional career, the structure and discipline of championship basketball.
With Kevin Love and Kevin Durant dropping out, and Paul George’s freak injury, Team USA had very little depth in the front-court. Players such as Kenneth Faried, Andre Drummond, and DeMarcus Cousins, while young and inexperienced, solidified USA’s front court rotation and introduced themselves as the future of the position on the world’s stage. Boogie even came out during an altercation with Toronto Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas, but Cousins was able to quickly regain composure and not strike a blow that would have assuredly warranted an ejection. A situation such as this may have had a different outcome earlier in Cousins career. USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo offered Cousins advice on how to parlay his FIBA success into the regular season stating, “The past is the past. This is the beginning of your career. Take everything you learned back to Sacramento. You can build on this and have a tremendous career.” All signs point to Boogie heading this advice and continuing to break out into one of the NBA’s best young stars.
With Cousins past history, it is easy to forget that off the court he has not had run-ins with the law or been in trouble for any illegal substance issues. He is regarded as a fun loving guy, constantly smiling, and joking around. In one of the more forgotten good-guy moments in recent league history, Cousins donated 1 million dollars from his new max contract to local Sacramento charities. However, NBA history has continuously proven that talent alone can only get a player so far. Countless examples have become cautionary tales in a league that is becoming increasingly impatient with unprofessional behavior and me-first attitudes. Team chemistry is taking priority amongst NBA executives. Sacramento gambled on Cousins growth as a leader and player in 2013, committing to a four year extension worth $62 million. The Kings franchise has been lacking talent and leadership since the days of C-Webb-Vlade-Hedo teams of the early 00s. Cousins is the budding superstar needed to transcend the Kings from perennial bottom dwellers to playoff contenders. After an impressive summer, Cousins must now reel in control of the negative and boogie on with the positive momentum.