DeMarcus Cousins knows how to make a joke. He would be a junior in college this year after all if he had elected to stay at Kentucky. The sophomore player though sometimes let the joke invade a little too much of his play.
Cousins was part of that crazy baby freshmen class at Kentucky that featured the Clippers' Eric Bledsoe and the Wizards' No. 1 overall pick, John Wall. Cousins, even then, had something of an attitude problem and did not quite know when to be a fun-loving youngster and joker and when to get serious. Cousins played in all 82 games his rookie year, averaging 14.1 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game in just more than 28 minutes per game.
Despite the solid numbers for a young power forward in the league, Cousins' attitude took up most of the headlines. He yo-yoed in and out of the starting lineup and was still very much a 20-year-old rookie.
What does Cousins have in store for year two? Balance seems to be his goal.
"I know what to expect now, so it's not as much pressure,'' Cousins told the Associated Press. "Last year, I came in with a lot of pressure. A lot of people were looking for me to save the team and this and that. But I'm a lot more relaxed now and having fun and we're going to play ball and win."
"He's always cracking jokes, funny guy. Sometimes you want to kill him because he plays too much, but he's good money," Kings forward Donte Greene added. "He has calmed down a lot since last year. Everybody had to do some growing up this year, especially with the lockout. But I think he's ready and looks good."
Cousins returned to camp surprisingly leaner. He is still listed at 270 pounds, but the media in Sacramento believe he has lost some weight and has taken a new approach to the season. Coach Paul Westphal says the Kings need Cousins to decrease his turnovers and control his temper just a bit. Cousins had an 18.5 percent turnover rate. That certainly will go down as he gets more accustomed to the speed of the game and comes into his own.
The temper issue... well, we won't know about that until Cousins hits the floor.
At that point he will show if he has matured any as his coaches hope. Remember, many people believed Cousins might steal some of John Wall's thunder last year and that he was possibly more NBA ready than Wall or his other classmates. His temper was all that kept him from getting drafted higher.
Those in Sacramento hope Cousins has shaped up and has calmed down so he can fulfill that potential and deliver for Sacramento.
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