The purpose of this FanPost is to look at the positive elements in the development of DeMarcus Cousins. This will primarily be achieved by looking at previous Kings who have played his position while in Sacramento.
True Shooting Percentage
In the accompanying graph you will notice that I have tried to highlight the TS% (which tries to account for all points scored, be they 2 point field goals, 3 point field goals, or free throws) of DeMarcus Cousins by contrasting it with the first three years of Vlade Divac and Brad Miller in Sacramento.
Obviously, the first point that sticks out is how much lower Cousins' TS% is when compared to the other two. This can be rationalized in a number of ways, from the other two players being veterans for their first three years with the Kings, to Cousins being a different type of center (he has a much higher usage percentage), or even that Cousins is just a poor shooter. However, no matter which way you look at this graph it is apparent that Cousins is getting better offensively (his FG%, 3P%, and FT% have increased every year) and should he continue to improve, I think we can realistically expect him to catch up with Vlade perhaps as early as next season.
Total Rebounding Percentage
This second graph compares Cousins' TRB% (The number of rebounds he corals divided by the total number of rebounds while he is on the court) with those of Vlade and Miller.
The first thing that sticks out is that Cousins is already a better rebounder than either of the other players. The next thing is that after leading the league in offensive rebounding in 2011-12 he had a bit of a dip in his offensive rebounding. He averaged 1 less offensive rebound last season than he did in 2011-12. My theory, unproven but certainly bustable by an analysis of synergy data like the one Greg Wissinger did in his article An Analysis of DeMarcus Cousins Rebounding His Own Missed Shots, is that as Cousins increases his scoring efficiency he provides less opportunities for himself to rebound his own missed shots and thus brings down his own offensive rebounding.
Personal Fouls Per Game
This last graph is pretty self explanatory. It shows that Cousins fouls more often than either Vlade or Miller were apt to. Whether that is a reflection of Cousins' lack of getting veteran calls or inherently being more foul prone, only time will tell. However, Cousins does need to be recognized for making progress in this area of his game as he is almost to a respectable level of fouls per game. Of course, Cousins' playing time has been directly effected by foul trouble on too many occasions so more improvement here could have him playing more time per game, which is good for the whole team.
Comparing Cousins to Divac and Miller provides an interesting lens through which to view Cousins, especially when you factor in Cousins' age and experience level. After comparing Cousins, Vlade, and Miller I feel more comfortable with Cousins' improvement and feel more positive about him being the face of the franchise. Of course, I would still be relieved if someone else stepped up and outperformed Cousins in a way that is both complementary to his game and his ego.
Another interesting lens to view him through is an article called Do Big Men take Longer to Develop in the NBA (Short Answer: No, point guards take longer.) However, that article also goes on talk about how centers peak twice, once in year 3 and again in either their 5th or 6th year.
P.S. Don't read what Do Big Men take Longer to Develop in the NBA's research says about defensive development over the course of an NBA career, unless you enjoy self-flagellation, it's depressing.
*All stats came from basketball-reference.com