The Kings suspended DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely after the 3rd year C verbally abused head coach Keith Smart during intermission of Friday’s loss to the Clippers, an incident coming shortly on the heels of Cousins’ postgame confrontation with Spurs TV analyst Sean Elliot. In his relatively brief professional career, the undeniably talented Cousins has established a rep as a head case (that’s the clinical term, right?), one the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voison had previously argued wasn’t entirely deserved. In the wake of Friday’s incident, however, Voison warns, “you don’t have to be a psychiatrist to realize he needs counseling. He needs to be punished, true, but he also needs to be helped.”
The Kings should consider anything and everything: rehiring his former high school coach, Otis Hughley, who was added to the coaching staff as a baby sitter/personal handler during Cousins’ rookie season; taking a tip from Phil Jackson and having one of their mental health consultants maintain a more consistent and high-profile presence. And while neither teams nor the league can compel players to undergo counseling, the Kings successfully pressured Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) into anger management therapy during his days in Sacramento.
The Kings still don’t want to trade Cousins – and they shouldn’t – but something has to change. He has to change. Being tall and talented and wealthy doesn’t entitle him to be demeaning and unprofessional and at times downright combative. He needs answers, and clearly, he needs help.
Asked why he appeared so morose after his impressive performance in the Kings’ victory last week against the Warriors, Cousins shook his head. “I’m just dealing with a lot of things in my life right now,” he replied quietly.
Now he gets to sit and think about things for a while, and with an assist from the Kings, maybe he can find some answers.