DeMarcus Cousins is a ‘throwback’ player

When people hear the word throwback they immediately get an image of some legendary player back in the days when an athlete’s heroic feats were captured either in black-and-white footage or that grainy Technicolor stuff. Well there is no need to harken that far back. No need to waste your time envisioning the exploits of Bob Cousy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or even Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, at least not for the purposes of this story.

No, DeMarcus Cousins is a throwback from a different era. When a person watches Cousins play his size and skill are undeniable. With the athleticism he possesses and the lack of talented centers in the league it should take no time to work his way into the top five or even top three centers in the league but he has one fatal flaw. His attitude.

Cousins has had numerous clashes with his head coach. He fought a teammate last year for not passing him the ball and now he has demanded a trade from the Sacramento Kings. Management has worked to diffuse the situation and adamantly deny they will trade him but if Cousins can’t get his act together it may be just a matter of time before they ship him out of Sac-Town.

As much as people hate guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kris Humphries you have to admit; those guys play their asses off when they are on the court. There was a time though when the NBA was filled with talented, un-coachable, underachieving head-cases like Cousins.

Remember Derrick Coleman? Coleman was a star at Syracuse and the New Jersey Nets drafted him with the first pick in the 1990 draft.

Coleman could flat-out score and racked up 20-and-10 seasons like it was nothing but refused to play defense. He would also have run-ins with coaches, management and even his own teammate Kenny Anderson (another talented head case) during his time in New Jersey. Tired of his antics and lack of conditioning, the Nets would do away with him after only five years sending him to the Philadelphia 76ers for Shawn Bradley.

Then there was Isaiah Rider. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Rider fifth overall in the 1993 draft but it didn’t take long for Rider to find trouble. Rider clashed with management, was convicted of fifth-degree assault after an incident with a woman at a bar and was facing a marijuana possession charge by the time the Timberwolves shipped him to Portland three years later.

Antoine Walker is another guy that came into the league during the 90’s who possessed a lot of talent. He won a championship at Kentucky before the Boston Celtics drafted him sixth overall in the 1996 draft. At 6’9” he could shoot, post, pass and handle the ball but instead of trying to expand his game he fell in love with the three-point shot.

Walker had probably the worst shot selection of all the talented players that came out of college during the 90’s. He shot just over 41% overall for his career and mastered the art of “matador-defense” which was an epidemic for many players during this period. He did last seven seasons in Boston before the Celtics traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. He would bounce around the league after that.

Trust me, when you go back through the NBA team rosters during the 90’s you will find a lot of these guys who were more concerned with big contracts and padding their stats than they were about winning. There were a lot of guys who couldn’t seem to stay off the police blotter either which is one of the reasons why the league started to institute more rules to govern the conduct of players on and off the court.

What’s sad is despite how these guys acted, many of them still had long careers in the league because teams are willing to gamble on a talented player. Rider and Walker even received championship rings as reserves on championship teams later in their careers.

So is this the kind of career we can expect from DeMarcus Cousins or will he get his act together in time to fulfill his tremendous promise and make the Kings a contender again? Call me a skeptic but personally, my money is riding on both Cousins and his coach being out of Sacramento before the Kings become winners again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t bring the whole franchise down with him before Kings’ management decides to give him the boot.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz