DeMarcus Cousins on the Right Track for Kings

Has DeMarcus Cousins gotten off to a perfect start? Hardly. He leads the league in personal fouls, and because of that has only been able to play 23 minutes a game, despite starting all four of the Kings' contests. Twenty-nine of his 38 FGAs have been taken away from the rim, according to HoopData. He has just one block all season, fewer than Luther Head. His learning curve on defense has been evidently steep; he is a part of the why the Kings rate as one of the league's worst defensive squads early on.

But really, at this point, those are quibbles, because in total DeMarcus has been ballin'.

As bad as the defense has been, the offense is awesome. And Cousins is a huge part of that. Despite the reliance on shots outside the deep post, Cousins has shot 50% from the floor and drawn plenty of fouls. He's had more free throw attempts than any King (22), and trails only Tyreke Evans, who missed the opener, on a per-game basis (6.3 for Evans, 5.5 for Cousins). For players who have seen at least 50 minutes this season, Cousins is No. 14 in FTAs per minute, just a shade behind Brook Lopez; the only two other big men above Cousins in this category are Dwight Howard and Tyrus Thomas. DMC is the only rookie in the top 20.

Among the 11 rookies who have played 50 minutes, Cousins is fourth in True Shooting percentage (thanks to a lovely free throw stroke) despite the second-highest usage rate. He beats Derrick Favors and blows Blake Griffin away in defensive rebounding; he's actual No. 20 in the entire league in defensive rebounding.

No other rookie has scored as frequently as Cousins. Heck, of the 83 players 6'9 or taller who have played 50 minutes, Cousins is No. 10 in per-minute scoring, ahead of even Amar'e Stoudemire and LaMarcus Aldridge. Only nine big men have averaged more assists.

This is all based on an extremely small sample size, and is subject to a lot of noise. But I put it all out there to remind you that while Cousins has had some major problems early in this rookie season, he's still already been the best rookie in the nation and a solidly above-average starting NBA big man. That's huge!

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