The NBA is a like a very big play… every player has a role in the big show and this year Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins gets to play the villain.
So far in Summer League play Cousins has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt he is easily the second-best talent in the 2010 NBA Draft class, and with his size and knack for the game he is going to challenge a lot of people to consider him for Rookie of the Year.
The problems with Cousins has nothing at all to do with what happens on the floor. It's everything else Cousins has to do as a NBA player.
Cousins is abrupt and defensive. He is arrogant and aggressive. He seeks out confrontation and for a kid that has a million dollar smile and a multi-million dollar game, it unfortunate the chip that lives squarely on his shoulder has made it easy to cast him as a villain.
The amusing thing about Cousins is if you catch him away from the cameras or the eyes and ears of the media, he is a pretty funny and likeable guy, but for whatever reason he has to be defensive with the press and the fans and that's always going to taint the perception of him.
The most defining examples of this was in New York at the players' hotel just before the Draft. NBA superstar Kevin Durant was posing for pictures with fans, something he tries to accommodate whenever he can. Cousins walks by and says to Durant, "Just tell'em 'No' Kev…" Durant looked at Cousins and shook his head in disbelief.
Admittedly Durant is a special NBA player that still refuses to accept he is a superstar in this league and wants to accommodate all of his fans, but it was in that moment it became clear one guy absolutely gets it and the other guy didn't.
There were lots of those kinds of moments with Cousins this week in Las Vegas, where you say to yourself: "If this kid ever gets it, he'll be among the best in the game."
Cousins has better offensive skills than Andrew Bynum and physical tools like Dwight Howard. If Cousins ever decided to hit the weight room hard, he could be one of the best centers in the game very quickly – it's just hard to see him as a player with that kind of drive and determination.
There is almost no doubt Cousins will be a successful NBA player. There is also little doubt Cousins' temperament on and off the floor is going to be a problem – he almost punched out an opponent yesterday in Summer League play.
You can just see he's playing right on the edge of out of control emotionally.
There is a real good chance Cousins grows into a more controlled player, but you have to wonder in a league that empowers immaturity and encourages outbursts, is Cousins going to be the next great big man, or the next Rasheed Wallace? He could very easily become both.