There is a tantalizing talent inside DeMarcus Cousins, a gifted scorer, passer and rebounder packed into a burly 6-foot-11, 270-pound frame. On any night, against any team, against any player, Cousins can dominate, posting NBA 2K-type numbers like the 31 points and 20 rebounds he put up against Toronto last Friday or the 28 points and 11 rebounds he collected against Brooklyn the next night.
“Demarcus Cousins is as tough a cover as there is in the league,” said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo. “Very few players have the talent that he has. He has the entire basketball package.”
There is an immature child in Cousins, too, an angry, frustrated 22-year-old who, in 2 1/2 years in the NBA, has been his own worst enemy. He has been suspended four times in the last year, including three times this season. The NBA dinged him twice, first for confronting Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott after a game in November and a month later for whacking Mavs guard O.J. Mayo in the groin. Last month, the Kings sat him down for “unprofessional behavior” that stemmed from an incident with head coach Keith Smart during halftime of a loss to the Clippers.