Cousins' season may have ended, but what a season it was

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Cousins may not play in the final game of the season, but it was still a season that he can take pride in as a big step forward.

Last night might have been DeMarcus Cousins' last game of the season due to him picking up his 16th technical foul.  Cousins had gone more than a month straight without picking up a technical, as getting his 16th would mean he'd get suspended.  There's still a chance that his technical will be rescinded and he'll be available Wednesday to play in the season finale against the Suns, but even if it isn't, it doesn't take away from his excellent performance this season.

Going into this season, many of us were skeptical (myself included) of the Kings' decision to give DeMarcus Cousins a max contract extension.  In his first three years, he had shown some flashes of greatness but also a moody temperament, an inability to stay on the court for long stretches, bad defense, and inefficient scoring.

Fortunately, not only has Cousins righted the ship, he's sailed straight into stardom with a season that saw huge improvements in almost every category.

Points: 17.1 to 22.7 (#10 in NBA)

Field Goal %: .465 to .496

Free Throw Attempts: 5.6 to 8.4 (#4 in NBA)

Rebounds: 9.9 to 11.7 (#4 in NBA)

Blocks: 0.7 to 1.3 (#13 in NBA)

Minutes: 30.5 to 32.4

Player Efficiency Rating (PER): 20.2 to 26.2 (#5 in NBA)

True Shooting %: .524 to .555

Defensive Rebounding Rate: 27.0% to 30.6% (#1 in NBA)

Assist Rate: 15.3% to 17.8% (#33 in NBA, #5 among big men)

Offensive Rating: 102 to 107

Defensive Rating: 106 to 102 (T-14th in NBA)

Offensive Win Shares: 2.0 to 4.2

Defensive Win Shares: 2.3 to 3.8

The best part about this improvement is that Cousins still has plenty of room to improve, not turning 24 until August. According to Basketball-Reference, there have only been 8 times that a player has averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds with a PER of 26 or higher by the Age of 23 years old and only 6 players that have done so: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy, Shaquille O'Neal, Bob Pettit and now DeMarcus Cousins.

The next steps Cousins will need to take involve getting even better on the defensive end (where he has surprisingly become good this season), staying on the floor longer through not fouling, and not missing games due to needless suspensions and technical fouls.  My hope is that this is the last time in his career that DeMarcus Cousins will put himself in the situation to miss a game because of too many technical fouls.  He managed to go 22 games in a row without a tech before last night, by far the longest stretch of his career.  My challenge for him next season is to try to go all 82.  It very likely won't happen, but playing with the same mindset he's shown this last quarter of a season will drastically lower the amount of technicals he gets and improve his reputation with both the officials and around the league.

In Cousins, the Kings have their first legitimate franchise cornerstone in a long time.  The road back to respectability is a long and arduous one, especially in the West, but thanks to Cousins' improvement this year, a big step forward was taken, even if the team's record hasn't changed from last year.  Awards, accolades and winning will eventually come in future seasons, but 2013-14 is the season in which Boogie took the next step in his development.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Sactown Royalty

You must be a member of Sactown Royalty to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Sactown Royalty. You should read them.

Join Sactown Royalty

You must be a member of Sactown Royalty to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Sactown Royalty. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker