DeMarcus Cousins will almost certainly sit out Wednesday night when the Sacramento Kings take on the Chicago Bulls.
But not because the league told him too.
In a surprise decision, the league is not going to suspend Cousins for the elbow to the head of Mike Dunleavy on Monday reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.
Yet that doesn’t mean Cousins is playing.
The big man who delivered a right elbow to the head of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Dunleavy on Sunday will not be suspended, according to NBA spokesman Tim Frank. Yet according to a person with knowledge of Cousins’ situation, he is not expected to play because of left leg pain caused by the collision with Dunleavy that preceded the incident in question. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on his behalf.
The league has had a pattern in the past of looking at a player’s history and patterns in deciding punishment, and this was Cousin’s fourth ejection of the season. But the league apparently sided with him that what he did was not deserving of the Flagrant 2 foul designation.
Apparently league disciplinarian Stu Jackson is feeling merciful lately, he also did not fine or suspend the Knicks J.R. Smith for an ejection after a foul to the head (that was the right call, Smith didn’t deserve the ejection in the first place).
What this really brings up is simply the league’s need for more transparency — conspiracy theories about NBA referees thrive because nobody quite understands the secretive world of referee oversight and discipline. Why were these not suspensions? Why have other fouls led to suspensions and fines? Why are the referees on the ground looking at replays and seeing something different than the league, and how is that remedied — the Kings lost that game to the Bucks in a close one that might have been different if Cousins had been on the court.
How the league handles referees needs to be a more open process than how a pope is elected or it give conspiracy theories room to take root.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.