When it comes to sheer talent there are very few players who can match New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins. The three-time All-Star is unstoppable down low with his size and strength, but also skilled enough to take players to the perimeter and beat them off the dribble or knock down three-pointers.
However, Cousins’ career has been pretty tumultuous as public clashes with head coaches, teammates and ownership throughout his time with the Sacramento Kings has some worried if mental and maturity issues outweigh his talent. The Kings ultimately traded him to New Orleans at the trade deadline last season.
Now in his first full season with the Pelicans, Cousins has a lot on the line as he will be a free agent next summer. According to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, people around the NBA believe a lot of money is on the line based on Cousins’ performance:
“This season is huge,” said a Western Conference team executive. “He has to prove he can win. He has never played with anyone near the talent of Davis. He has to show he is willing to sacrifice for the team and do what is best for the team first. He really needs to turn a corner. If he acts up, he will cost himself a lot of money.”
Cousins’ talent is undeniable, but he has had so many problems with his temper, collecting technical fouls at an alarming rate last season along with numerous other notable issues. With the Kings’ organization having so many issues of its own, many believed that getting out of Sacramento would help Cousins.
Now teamed with another insanely talented big man in Anthony Davis, with a full offseason to figure out how to play together, the pressure will be on Cousins to prove that he won’t be a detriment and can help a team make the playoffs.
If the issues surrounding Cousins continues, teams will be very hesitant to give him a big payday next summer, but if he turns the corner he will be one of the most sought after players in free agency.