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The national narrative around DeMarcus Cousins is changing

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ESPN's NBA Rank is just the latest example of Boogie starting to get the respect he's earned.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The national narrative surrounding DeMarcus Cousins is changing for the better.  It's been slowly happening since last season, but this summer has been a turning point.  Cousins' performance on Team USA at the FIBA World Cup certainly helped draw attention to Boogie's improved performance and effort on both ends of the floor.

NBATV's The Starters unanimously agreed that Cousins would make the All-Star Team this season, stating "now is the time we all fall in love with DeMarcus Cousins."

Then there's the praise from Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe in their League Pass power rankings.  Simmons has been on board with Cousins for a while now, but Lowe has been a bit more hesitant.  I respect the hell out of Lowe, and when he brings up faults with Cousins, they're usually quite valid.  But even he is coming around.

Lowe: He has made strides every season. This should be a monster year for him - a chance for his first All-Star appearance. They're making noise about a breakneck pace and position-less basketball, but let's see how much of that carries over. The juicier story line is what happens when ownership realizes this team is not nearly as good as they think. A panic trade? A coach firing? A way-too-big commitment to Rudy Gay?

Simmons: I just want to say - your genuine praise of Boogie brought tears to my eyes. This is the best day in Boogie Fanboy Club history other than the time he carried us to the World Cup gold medal over Serbia when we were 33-to-1 favorites.

Lowe: Hey, Boogie keeps getting better. He's a beast. That contract is a steal. He mostly tries on defense now. I know it's hard to believe, but trying helps! He's also the new king of the one-man fast break that could end in disaster for literally every one of the 10 guys on the floor.

And today DeMarcus Cousins' status was revealed in ESPN's annual NBA Rank.  Cousins was ranked 19th by the voters.  19th!  I'm sure there are some who feel he should be even higher, but he's just been acknowledged as a top 20 player.  That's huge.  Last season he was listed as 40th.  Players Cousins was ranked ahead of?  Guys like Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, Kyrie Irving, Serge Ibaka, and Al Horford.

In the grand scheme of things, the perceptions of Bill Simmons and a player's standing in NBA Rank mean little.  They don't necessarily reflect how good a player is.  But they are strong bellwethers of the national opinion of a player.

The national media is recognizing Cousins for the dominant force that he is.  Cousins is leading the way for the Kings to return to respectability.  It's a fantastic thing to see.  It's going to make the average fan pay a little more attention to the Kings.  And if the team can play well, if the can be entertaining, or both, the narrative around the franchise will change as well.

For now, though, raise the red flag of Cuzizstan.  The year of Boogie is upon us.