DeMarcus Cousins was the only All-NBA player on a lottery team this year.
The Kings center made the second team behind DeAndre Jordan.
Credit voters for seeing past Sacramento’s dismal record and recognizing Cousins’ individual excellence. He has only so much power, and it would’ve been unfair to disqualify him due to his subpar teammates and coaching.
Cousins’ voting breakdown:
- First team: 32
- Second team: 28
- Third team: 33
- Not on ballot: 33
I wouldn’t have picked Cousins for an All-NBA team, but this struck me as voters being open-minded about an unconventional candidate — one from a losing team.
Cousins sees it differently.
Cousins, via Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
“I don’t even know what an expert is any more,” Cousins told The Vertical about the all-NBA votes. “I mean, I had some guys, didn’t even vote for me, and that’s absurd. It’s a joke. It really is. It’s a popularity contest. It’s the guys who like them, it’s the guys they like, the guys they get to see on a nightly basis. I still don’t feel I get the respect I deserve. But I’m going to keep grinding. I’m going to stick with it.”
I wouldn’t have voted for Cousins. I put Draymond Green, Jordan and Al Horford at center for the PBT Awards. So, I obviously didn’t find omitting Cousins absurd.
Likewise, I wouldn’t have found including Cousins absurd. He wasn’t far behind in a deep crop of center candidates that also included Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Hassan Whiteside and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Though Cousins posted monster numbers — 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game — he contributed to the toxic environment that derailed Sacramento’s season. That counts, too. So does Cousins missing 17 games.
But before we get too far down the rabbit hole of sober analysis, remember this: Cousins, for better or worse, always has a huge chip on his shoulder. Of course he thinks he was slighted.
In fact, many voters find that stubbornness endearing. That’s why a popularity contest didn’t keep Cousins off some All-NBA ballots.
His season, while very impressive, just wasn’t overwhelmingly dominant enough to demand inclusion on every single ballot.