You don’t want DeMarcus Cousins on the Celtics
|01.31.13 at 1:17 am ET|
After all the trade rumors earlier this month that had the Kings shipping DeMarcus Cousins across the country in exchange for some package of Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and/or Fab Melo, the third-year center’s Wednesday night in Boston proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don’t want him on the Celtics.
Of all the reasons not to package a deal for Cousins, and there are many, the fact he played dumb when asked about the rumored trade isn’t one of them. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I didn’t know that.”
In the span of two minutes during his postgame press conference, Cousins openly questioned his coach and threw the Kings organization under the bus. Do Keith Smart and the Maloof brothers deserve criticism? Absolutely. But after submitting, to put it kindly, a disinterested performance probably isn’t the best time to do so.
Asked about what went wrong in Sacramento’s 99-81 loss to the C’s, Cousins explained: “We made changes that we didn’t really need. That affected the flow of the game. We have a tendency to do that. Sometimes, you’ve got to just keep letting it ride. Sometimes, you’ve got to stick with the original game plan and just let it play through.”
First of all, I don’t even know what that means. Second of all, here’s what went wrong: The Kings allowed 37 points in the second quarter. The Celtics made their first 14 shots and finished 16-of-20 from the field in the frame.
Then again, Smart’s explanation about where it all fell apart wasn’t much better. Why did the Kings coach play his starters for the entire first quarter and then sit all five of them for the first 5:35 of the second?
“It was still relatively early, so I didn’t think it would get away from us like it did,” he said. “We started off slow in the first quarter, so I needed our starters to close the gap a little bit so we didn’t go into the second quarter being down so much. So, I couldn’t take those guys out because we didn’t play catch-up in that first quarter. They wanted to go into the second quarter being down 10, so I had to play those guys and try to get out of the first quarter.”
Huh? I’m confused. I thought the Kings had a 24-22 lead after the first 12 minutes. Anyhow, we’re getting off track here. After Cousins returned midway through the second quarter, he missed his only shot, grabbed one rebound, threw the ball away twice and committed two turnovers. The Celtics entered halftime leading, 59-38.
When trade rumors swirled, many folks tried convincing themselves Cousins could thrive under Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett‘s veteran presence. After watching Cousins sulk up and down the court, loiter around the perimeter while being guarded by guys half a foot shorter and seemingly fire ill-advised passes to opponents purely out of anger, there’s a small chance he helps the C’s win more games as a member of the Kings.
“We can’t keep changing,” said Cousins. “We can’t.”
Why not? A .309 winning percentage in your first three seasons isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Still think the 22-year-old’s 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds a night are what ails the Celtics?
After he and Chuck Hayes joked around for a bit in the locker room following an 18-point loss, Cousins addressed the media. Just as Boston reporters asked Garnett about Jared Sullinger‘s absence from the Rising Stars Challenge, Sacramento’s contingent questioned Cousins about the snub of Isaiah Thomas.
“I feel like that’s on the organization,” said Cousins. “There’s no reason Isiah shouldn’t have been in that game. He’s had an incredible year, and once again he’s not even mentioned, so I feel like that’s on the organization.”
Except the Rising Stars Challenge roster is selected by the league’s assistant coaches and has nothing to do with anyone in the Kings organization all the way up to the Maloof brothers, however reprehensible they might be for reneging on a deal that would have saved NBA basketball in Sacramento.
So, if you want a guy who plays in second gear, questions his coach and throws his entire franchise under the bus, keep dreaming up trade scenarios to get Cousins in Boston. But the Celtics shouldn’t.