DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins is the most talented big, not the best

The amount of big men are becoming scarce in the NBA. It seems everyday they transition further and further away from the basket while getting shorter and shorter. The league is all about three-pointers and small ball which limits everything that was the traditional big man. However, the NBA still contains some players in the paint who have skills of the traditional big man but are still relevant to the style of the game today. One of those players being DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins has been getting a lot of praise from his peers lately. First Draymond Green, who played with him in Rio, called him the best big man in the NBA today (via ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss):

“I think DeMarcus is the best center in the game,” Draymond Green assessed after the game. “I think a lot of times people don’t give him that credit. And a part of it is they try to downplay his status because of his reputation or getting technical fouls or things like that.” Green continued, “He is the best big man in the game hands down.”

“He’s always really had the midrange, he’s taking guys off the dribble, he’s pushing it full court, getting to the hole, getting and-1s, go to the post. He’s dominant. He’s an incredible player, and he continues to get better year in and year out, regardless of what credit people try to take from him, try not necessarily give him.”

“He’s the best center in the game,” Green concluded. “Best big man in the game, period.”

LeBron James backed the words of Green by echoing that Cousins is the best big in the league:

Looking at the numbers and talent, there’s no question that he has what it takes to be the best big in the NBA. His size, strength, and ability to play in and out the paint makes him one of the hardest players to guard. There are other players such as Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns who are in the running for that title but DeMarcus’s skill level is so superior that’s its hard to refute that.

But even with the numbers and skills, it’s hard for me to give Cousins that crown. On a nightly basis, Cousins is involved with some type of scuffle or altercation and that can’t be ignored. He continuously lets his attitude get the best of him which in return distracts everyone from his game.

Draymond mentioned that people use Cousins’s reputation to take away from his game and I don’t agree with that. It’s not that people are taking away from his game. DeMarcus is taking away from his game. Every technical, every fight, every altercation, and every thrown mouthpiece acts as a distraction.

When you become hard to coach and hard to play with then you hurt your team. Being the best player isn’t all about talent in my eyes. There’s more to being the best player than just having the most talent. Things like basketball IQ, coachability, and the capability to make those around you better all play a factor in being the best. It’s one thing to be a talented player, but the aspects of being coachable and a good teammate are qualities of being the best.

If you want to say that DeMarcus Cousins is the most talented big in the NBA, then that’s fine with me, but I can’t quite call him the best.

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