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30Q: Which path with DeMarcus Cousins take?

This is a huge season in DeMarcus Cousins's career.


There's a chicken-egg paradox with DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings to date.

Cousins has not been professional as a professional. He's fought with a teammate, gotten into shouting matches with coaches and the trainer, been suspended by two different head coaches and the league, gotten into an argument with another team's broadcaster and been near the top of the league in technical fouls, almost always for arguing calls.

Cousins in 2010 came into a rudderless team, one of the saddest, most poorly-run franchises in all of sports. There was never any accountability: from the owners, from the GM, from his first head coach, from the team's best players. This was not really a professional team: it was a holding company for vodka salesmen. There were no leaders in leadership positions.

Has Cousins had such a rough start to his NBA career because of the lack of structure in Sacramento, or has Sacramento been in crisis in part because Cousins is so immature?

The good news is that it doesn't matter this season, because it seems like the Kings are re-entering the league. With new ownership, a new front office and a new coach, the pieces around Cousins have improved. There's structure. There's leadership. There's support. Now, they just need Boogie to come along. We'll quickly see if he can.

Well, we'll probably see if he can. There was a honeymoon period of sorts after Paul Westphal was fired in early 2012. So perhaps Cousins will be on his best behavior for a few months before reverting to the Cousins we know and love. It's worth noting, though, that Cousins is said to be in great shape and has spent time working out with Michael Malone and a few teammates, including Isaiah Thomas. Take it with whatever amount of salt you like, but he's coming in as if this is a new day. Let's hope that's sincere.

We're edging closer to the deadline for an extension -- end of October -- and we haven't heard a peep out of DMC or his agent about aggravation at the lack of a deal, which is as good a sign as we'll get. Whether that situation factors into Cousins's ... mood remains to be seen.

Regardless, this is the season that determines whether Boogie is going to be a tenable NBA professional or a walking blowtorch. And that will decide if he's staying or leaving. He can still be difficult and salty: he just needs to not get suspended multiple times a season for insubordination. He just needs to not make the locker room more miserable than it may be due to losses. He needs to have some small modicum of control over his temper to the point where he's not hurting his team through absence, technical foul shots or otherwise.

He can do that, or he can do what he's done for three years.

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