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Is DeMarcus Cousins the big man Team USA can lean on?

Jul 29, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

DeMarcus Cousins AP

LAS VEGAS — Team USA is going to go small this summer.

In the final scrimmage on Monday they ran a lineup with Kevin Durant as the four and Anthony Davis as the center, and that likely will be your starters when the USA gets to Spain for the World Cup. On the other side of that same scrimmage Chandler Parsons played power forward with Paul Millsap getting a shot at center. Small ball.

But the USA needs some real size because Spain — the runner up to the USA the last two Olympics, and a team that starts Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol up front — is looming. The question is who will be that other big man?

In the limited action the media saw from Day 1 of Team USA training camp, DeMarcus Cousins looked like the next best big man.

The Sacramento center had a nice chemistry with Kyrie Irving on the pick-and-roll getting a couple buckets diving toward the rim. Cousins was making more plays on the defensive end where he blocked a Paul George jumper and shut down James Harden driving the lane. Team USA needs active bigs in their system and Cousins was that.

“I believe what (coach Mike Krzyzewski) wants from me is to be a physical specimen, be a defensive anchor, control the paint. Be a dominant force in there….” Cousins said, adding it’s an adjustment to jump into playing 5-on-5 at this level in the middle of summer. “Everything happened so fast out there I don’t know who made what pass, we’re just playing basketball.”

Of course, the question with Cousins has never been talent. It’s the mentality side — international basketball allows far more physicality than the NBA game and Cousins can pick up fouls and technicals out of frustration trying to deal with those calls (or lack of them). Team USA doesn’t have room for that.

While Cousins looked good Andre Drummond was making plays too and if he can keep his head about him while Cousins can’t the choice is easy.

Has Cousins matured enough to make the Team USA roster for Spain? If he has he’s the best man for the job. If not, Coach K will move on quickly.

As always with Cousins, it all comes back to his attitude and maturity. But so far he has looked like a guy Team USA can count on.

  1. jattsoorma - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    hes a beast! underrated because hes not seen much due to playing in sac but his numbers are right up there, if not better, than all of top centers in the game.

    • spursareold - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      No one with any common sense questions his talent.

  2. chicagosports2014 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Yea right, call him a name he don’t like this fool gonna get all turnt up, and get ejected.

    • kavika6 - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:21 AM

      Hopefully the international language barrier will keep him from exploding as much. The USA shouldn’t be represented by an immature 12 year old in a big body.

  3. misremembered72 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    On the east coast I don’t get to see him much, but does this guy get in trouble during games all that often?
    Although he is extremely competitive, I thought that it was established that his “bad attitude” was over blown in the days leading up to his draft

  4. cbking05 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Cousins is the best big man in the game …

    • money2long - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Joakim Noah
      Cousins
      Dwight
      Blake
      Anthony Davis
      Kevin love
      Aldridge

      Who would you guys take 1st for a one year season

      • bougin89 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Dwight or Blake…it’s gets tough to pick between the two. Depending on the other parts of the roster I’d be adding them to it would be either one.

      • ecnuob51 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Dwight or Blake?? Those are the worst two to choose from. First glance id go with Noah or Aldridge just depends on the team. If it’s a long term thing if definitely go with Davis though

      • bougin89 - Jul 29, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        Well yeah I’d go with Davis too if it were long term but the question was for one season.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 29, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        Noah. Although Anthony Davis will have the best career of all those guys.

      • kingghidora - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        I’d take Cousins. He is top 5 in rebounding and scoring and he moves his feet well enough to play D if he ever gets it in his head to do it. I think it’s a matter of needing to rest some actually. He doesn’t seem to be built for constant hustle like Davis or Noah. And Davis will likely be a PF for most of his career because of his ball skills and outside shooting. He’s a great rim defender obviously but he doesn’t have the bulk to bang it out day after day. I’d play him at PF anyway.

      • muhangis - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:30 AM

        DMC a.k.a The Boogeyman

        He is easily the most underrated player in the NBA, here’s why:

        (MUST READ)

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1917889-the-case-for-demarcus-cousins-as-the-best-center-in-the-nba

      • bevan18 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        Davis. He’s already a 20/10 guy and his defense will be at Noah’s level before he’s 23.

      • kavika6 - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:23 AM

        NBA champion Tim Duncan not even mentioned?

      • money2long - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:29 AM

        Nope

    • muhangis - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:34 AM

      DMC a.k.a The Boogeyman – Easily the most underrated player in the NBA, here’s why:

      (MUST READ)

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1917889-the-case-for-demarcus-cousins-as-the-best-center-in-the-nba

  5. bhunter1995 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    This guy is no joke, if he can bump his shooting percentage up by 4-5% and play more defense he will be the best center in the game without question. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a monster but he needs to become a better rim protector and he has to take less mid range jump shots and focus more on pounding the ball into the paint.

    • bhunter1995 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      I dont know how I double posted, please ignore my first post the one I wanted to publish was the one directly below this comment.

    • spursareold - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      He takes a lot of bad long 2s, so I don’t see that 4-5% bump happening.

  6. bhunter1995 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    This guy is no joke, if he can bump his shooting percentage up by 4-5% and play more defense he will be the best center in the game without question. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a monster and is in the top 3 centers right now, but he needs to become a better rim protector and he has to finish better around the rim. He shoots 46% in the paint (them grantland charts son) and while it’s not a bad percentage he needs to get that up into the 50% range.

    • savvybynature - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      You realize that bumping your FG% by 5 percent AND improving your defense would be a HUGE leap for any player to make, right?
      I mean, he has a ton of potential, but he just doesn’t have the length to be a great rim defender and it’s going to be hard to be more efficient without a pg like Isaiah Thomas to take some pressure off him offensively. If he has to take more shots, and he probably will, he is more likely to shoot a worse percentage.

      • bhunter1995 - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        All Cousins needs to do in order to bump his percentage up is to stop shooting 17-18 foot jumpshots. If he posted up more often you would see his FG% go up by at least a few percentage points, although his overall PPG would drop by a couple points it would be an efficient 19-20 PPG instead of a reckless 22 PPG. Also, DC is a legit seven footer with shoes on and he weighs in at 275, this guy could be an excellent rim defender but he is slow on his rotations and doesn’t always compete for blocks when he should. If Chuck Hayes was a good rim defender (he was a good defensive center at 6’6) then Cousins can be too. His steal numbers are actually superb he gets roughly 1.5 SPG which would be good for a guard, his problems are with his effort in the paint on defense which is lacking.

  7. milkman1989 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Guys i’m doing a dissertation on the NBA focusing on competitiveness. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE could you answer my questionnaire, its only 4 questions long and i promise it will only take 1 minute max. Here is the link and i will be very grateful to the community on here THANKS: surveymonkey.com/s/RBYGLL2

    • dexterismyhero - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      No, and quit asking.

  8. sasquash20 - Jul 29, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    I love this kid and his attitude. If he can ever harness that into smart play he will be sick. Good test for him. Sounds like he is starting to figure it all out. Go USA

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