Wednesday September 14th, 2016

The DeMarcus Cousins era in Sacramento continues to inspire awe and pity. Cousins, 26, had a statistical year for the ages last season (27/12/3/1/1), an all-around stat-stuffing that earned him a spot alongside Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the record books. And yet those monster numbers weren’t enough, nor were they even close to enough. Once again, like clockwork, the Kings failed to assembled enough talent to be competitive, then struggled through locker room and chemistry issues, then dumped their coach, and then used their lottery pick on a center, leaving Cousins to stew in his frustration at every step of this familiar journey. Eventually, something will have to break this cycle. But what will it be? Will Cousins hold up for 82 games and carry the Kings to the postseason in Herculean fashion? Will a Kings coach, perhaps Dave Joerger, finally stumble upon some successful lineup combinations around Cousins? Will Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac luck into some good moves on the “Even a broken clock is right twice a day” principle? Will one of Cousins’s teammates unexpectedly break out, giving him the help he’s so desperately needed? Or, will Sacramento finally cave to fears that Cousins might leave as a free agent down the road and trade him to the highest bidder? At this point, it doesn’t matter all that much how this story changes, just that it does. (Last year: No. 14)

+ His 35.4 usage rate last season was the highest posted by a center since the stat was recorded (per Basketball-Reference), and he led the Kings in points, rebounds, blocks, free throw attempts, turnovers, fouls, PER, Win Shares and Defensive Rating
+ A shift to the perimeter under former coach George Karl allowed him show off his guard skills: His 512 drives led all centers (no other center had 150)
Led the NBA with 17 technical fouls in 2015–16 and has ranked in the top five in each of the last six NBA seasons 
He’s the only player in the top 22 of this year’s list that has yet to reach the playoffs

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