Kevin McHale: When Has DeMarcus Cousins Ever Made Anything Work?
February 23 / Jake O'Donnell / SportsGrid
There are plenty of teams in the NBA with two All-Stars on their roster, yet only a handful are actually in championship contention. Why is that? Compatibility obviously has something to do with it, as does those stars' surrounding cast and coach, but what's to say that some of the players we consider studs are, at the end of the day, just stat monsters?
That seems to be how former Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale views the NBA's best true center. He's simply not a winner, which is why he was traded, and also why the Pelicans won't immediately become a better team now that he's there.
"This is [DeMarcus] Cousins' sixth year in the league," McHale told Mike & Mike. "After a while, when you just haven't seen him elevate his teammates' play, haven't seen him elevate his team, haven't seen him do that, I mean, what makes you think he's going to do it now? I mean, he might, and I hope he does, because I think it would be really fun to watch that, but I'm not holding my breath."
That's a particularly tough analysis given the Kings' relatively untalented roster during Cousins' tenure in Sacramento. A dried up Rajon Rondo? Rudy "Mr. Ineffcient" Gay? The Ben McLemore and Willie Cauley-Stein draft picks? The Hassan Whiteside and Isaiah Thomas draft picks-cum-trades? After all, the responsibility to improve the players around a superstar should lie with the front office, and the Kings' brass has been awful in that regard, so it's a bit unfair to blame Cousins for not picking up the slack and taking the franchise on a playoff run.
Apparently McHale doesn't think "I play with a D-League roster in the NBA" is a viable excuse for the three-time All-Star.
"Is it going to work? I'd say no," he said about Cousins pairing with Anthony Davis in New Orleans. "When has cousins made anything work? I mean, you know, in basketball, your top players have got to make everybody better. You don't win 65 games and a championship because your ninth man had the career year. You win because your top guys is driving everybody. They make everybody better. They step on the floor and everybody is better for being on that floor with them. Your game gets raised. Everybody's game gets raised by the top players. They just bring the whole team together. I've never seen Cousins do that.
"Honestly, I think the most games he's won in the NBA is 32, and it just seems like there's always something going on around him. Conversely, I've seen it a million different times. A ton of talent, put up big numbers, and your team never goes anywhere."
The full clip, below...
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