In a few weeks, general managers in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Minnesota could face a question — why did you pass on DeMarcus Cousins?
That’s because no rookie is likely to get off to a faster start than DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento (save maybe John Wall in Washington).
With Samuel Dalembert out for the first two weeks of the season at least (it could be up to a month), Cousins will get the start at center, according to the Sacramento Bee. So far in four preseason games Cousins is averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds a game in 24.5 minutes.
Those are good numbers, the kind of numbers that get people asking a GM, “Why did you pass on him again?”
It’s not all perfect. Cousins is shooting 45.6 percent (not dreadful but lower than you want for a guy working that close to the basket). His assist to turnover ratio is bad, not shocking for a rookie. He’s making mistakes at the defensive end and picking up a lot of fouls.
And that is the end where the Kings really need Cousins if they are to weather the Dalembert loss. Dalembert was there to be the defensive anchor, the rim protector the Kings lacked last season. With him out, that responsibility falls to the rookie as well as Jason Thompson. Cousins has to clog the paint, without drawing the quick whistles rookies often do.
If he can live up to it, there will be even more questions for general managers.