You Can't Have the Glory Without the Pain

And you can't credit DeMarcus Cousins for destroying all comers in Games 1-3 of Vegas Summer League without acknowledging he was blown up in Games 4-6. Cousins again struggled, shooting 1-13 on his way to six points, six rebounds and five turnovers in 27 minutes against Dallas. Cousins, who still somehow won T-Mobile Rookie of the Month, ended up averaging 14/9 for the VSL, shooting 33 percent.

For the last two games, Cousins was as bad as he was good in the first three games.

And while perhaps the struggles can be explained away by circumstances, the successes can also be explained away. If you're willing to discount the really awful games against Chicago and Dallas, you need to stop screaming about the games against L.A. and Minnesota. This VSL doesn't show Cousins is a sure star, or that he's a bust. It showed that both are still plausible. The activity level, offensive decision-making and execution in the first half of the Toronto game and all the way through both the Chicago and Dallas games was so bad that it's all back on the table.

That's only as rash as myself and others declaring Cousins wouldn't be a bust after the Minnesota game, where Boogie had 22/12.

The shot selection has been a bit mind-boggling. Sometimes, Boogie is looking for the foul. Fair enough. But where Cousins would spin to the rim in the early games, he has taken to constantly rolling away for a turn-around jumper. He's not pushing to post deep, instead settling for a soft post position. The long jumper was wet early this week, so he kept pulling the trigger, even when it dried up. The passing lanes were there early, so he kept trying to make the passes, even with limbs in the way.

The exhaustion factor can't be discounted completely -- six games in seven nights at almost 30 minutes a game, against pro athletes ... that's insanity. It'd be easy to yell at Mario Elie for not resting him one game in the middle, but that's not why Cousins is here. He's here to learn the offense and defense, and discover what he's up against in the NBA. Big dudes like Joey Dorsey. Fast guards like Rodrigue Beaubois. Double teams. Quick hands. Help defense. It's safe to say he learned a lot, even in the perhaps embarrassing mediocrity of the final two games. And that's what this is about.

So we'll see, come October, whether this turn for the worst taught Boogie anything about his own limitations, and his role next to Tyreke Evans and Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson. If there's one thing Evans missed out on for the most part in his rookie season, it was learning experiences. He was so good so long he never really had to step back and assess what he'd done wrong. Cousins has that opportunity right now. Let's hope he grasps it.

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