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DeMarcus Cousins Benched for Choke Taunt

Surely this will be the move that turns DeMarcus Cousins into a stately professional.

The Kings have fined and benched Cousins for his choke taunt toward Reggie Williams late in Tuesday's debacle. The Bee's Jason Jones tweets that coach Paul Westphal said Cousins won't start again until he shows he can be more professional. In response, Cousins reportedly said he didn't think he would have been punished had the Kings held on to win.

That question is unanswerable. But this latest episode reveals a pretty solid fact: Paul Westphal has no clue how to handle Cousins.

No one raised an issue with Westphal over the time Cousins got fined for arguing with assistant coaches, or kicked out of practice for the same. I, along with (I think) most other fans, think Westphal should be allowed to run this ship with freedom. Even if the ship is being run into iceberg after iceberg.

But Cousins was among those who understood those previous punishments. You can't scream at coaches. You can't. But this time -- that first quote Jones tossed out from DMC? That ain't a dude who understands why he was punished. And the line about Cousins starting again when he shows he can be more professional?

Sing it to Reggie Miller, Paul.

Cousins' premature and inappropriate gesture is embarrassing, sure. To Cousins. And he's suffered for it, and will continue to suffer for it. (Especially when he visits Oakland. Those hecklers will eat alive him.)

But you know what's embarrassing to the organization and fans? This team's performance. The team's record. The team's inability to rotate back on defense, or rotate out on defense, or move the ball regularly on offense, or push the fast break, or finish plays, or finish games. As a fan, I'm a helluva lot more frustrated by all of that than a 20-year-old making a dumb choking gesture at an opponent in the throes of a contested, dramatic game.

Cousins' gesture did not affect one tiny bit of on-court action, puts absolutely no one in danger, and broke absolutely no rules. (Unless, of course, Westphal has a secret "no choking gestures" rule. Which would be kinda funny, actually.) Benching Cousins? That will affect on-court action. And it'll affect Cousins' relationship with the coach and organization. And that affects fans.

What has Westphal done with Cousins that has actually worked? Can anyone name one thing? And now, this kid is being benched for ill-planned gamesmanship during a fricking free throw. Benched! I know Westphal likes to emphasize that he's the big cheese, but this neo-Napoleon gimmick is biology teacher coaching the junior varisty squad bologna/baloney. We get it, Paul. You're the coach, and you have the power. Perhaps you should try using it to get your team to play defense instead of leveraging it to legislate a man's emotions. Damn.

Furthermore, since when is a starting role is a carrot and not a job? Does Westphal to win? This DNP-CD to starter to DNP-CD nonsense tickled this issue as well, but this sends it over the cliff. You're punishing Cousins for a lack of professionalism on the court in dealing with an opponent by taking him out of the starting lineup? Politics and posturing is deciding the Kings starting lineup. Awesome. Way to go, coach.

Where's that f--king PBJ?