DeMarcus Cousins blames woes on stress


DeMarcus Cousins spoke with Ailene Voisin on Friday. He said the stress of losing has led to his latest problems.

Many of us saw that insanely anxiety-inducing interview DeMarcus Cousins had with local media on Thursday. You know, the one where one of the local TV talking heads asked why DeMarcus was so angry, causing DeMarcus to walk off. (Frankly, I don't blame Cousins one bit. I am, however, stunned that the Kings put Cousins in that position. You know, PR bro, you can step in and say something to the clown-question bro before DeMarcus has to. Jeez.)

It turns out Cousins had a much calmer media interview on Friday, with The Bee's Ailene Voisin. Her Sunday column advocates keeping Cousins and firing Geoff Petrie, who has been absent throughout this ordeal. (A. This is my surprised face. B. Sam Amick reports that Petrie won't be the GM next season.)

Here's where Cousins talks about what has been weighing on him.

"Stress," he said, his voice rising, "it's the stress. I really do care. I wish people understood how much I hate losing. Honestly, the losing really gets to me." [...]

"The first thing I have to do is keep my mouth shut ... even when I'm right. But I'm not depressed. Do I look depressed? I'm rich, I'm healthy. I'm very grateful for the situation I'm in. I'm telling you, it's the stress."

I remain totally uncomfortable discussing other people's mental health. But Voisin is the third reporter (following her colleague Jason Jones and Amick) to write that the Kings requested he see a counselor but that D.M.C. refused. That line about depression resonates on this note. Does Cousins think that only depressed people see mental health professionals? Because that's definitely not the case. And frankly, I'm not sure any reasonable person thinks Cousins is depressed.

But that he's stressed? Yes, that makes sense. And mental health professionals can certainly help with that.

We also need to consider the actual calculus of asking DeMarcus Cousins to seek therapy. As in, it's Geoff Petrie -- someone who is bad at his job, takes little if any responsibility for his own struggles in public and in one very relevant example gave someone else (Paul Westphal) the ax after abdicating his own role in the last major D.M.C. blow-up. DeMarcus is 22. He's learning about the NBA from the Kings organization ... where blaming someone else is the norm. It's Petrie's regime, really. This isn't to absolve Cousins, who absolutely knows he can't be yelling at his coach. But raise a Labrador in a wolf den and you're gonna get a wolf. When the chief wolf tells the Labrador to stop acting like a wolf and go to this doctor who will tell you how to stop being wolf ... that's not likely to be successful. I mean, how does Geoff Petrie or a Maloof seriously tell someone with a straight face to take some personal responsibility? For real?

Voisin is spot-on in her piece. Except for the distracting tangent on point guard purity. The Kings' offense has been much better of late, and is currently No. 18 in the league. Cousins is not stressed, I think, because he doesn't have Steve Nash. It's the losing, the negativity, the blame and the utter aimlessness of this God-forsaken franchise.

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