Comparing Cousins' numbers pre and post Malone firing

I, a long with a lot of you and multiple members of the national media have been less than pleased with DeMarcus Cousin’s …demeanor? since returning from Viral Meningitis and the Michael Malone firing.

Some of his old bad habits have returned. The eye-rolly glances at his teammates when they take a bad shot, ‘not getting back on defense’ when he thinks he’s fouled, unnecessary and time consuming complaining to the officiating, that vine of him with his hands on his knees during that Rudy Gay possession, the technical fouls, etc. To be clear, none of this means I want to trade him, or that I think he’s a bad guy, or that I don’t want him on the Kings, etc. It’s just an observation.

And just to take it a step further, a tweet from someone with a lot more influence than myself.

Aright. So, my hypothesis going into this was that I was going to find some magic number, or combinations of numbers, that prove Cousins hasn’t been the same guy since Corbin took over / he came back from viral meningitis / Malone was fired.

The TL:DR version of what I’m about to write is this – I didn’t really find anything to prove what my eyes see. It doesn’t mean Cousins is the same exact guy he was earlier in the season, but just that maybe I, and others, have been overreacting to his demeanor on the court.

First I looked at some of the player tracking numbers. I figured that if there was some major discrepancy in his hustle or energy, it might show up there. Some of these numbers are irrelevant, but since I did the math anyway I decided to include them incase anyone else was interested. DeMarcus Cousins’ average distance travelled per game with Malone was 1.89 miles. Under Corbin it has been 1.97. This is one of those irrelevant stats because it relies heavily on minutes played per game. I went through every game log and averaged it out myself, but it doesn’t really say anything. The only potentially interesting debate you could have is that Corbin is pushing him to run more (while he is at 60% roughly … PDA’s words, not mine) and that could be having an adverse effect on his play. Is he getting tired, faster? Maybe. I don’t know.

Then I looked at average speed. By NBA.COM’s definition, "The average speed of all movements in miles per hour (sprinting, jogging, standing, walking backwards and forwards) by a player while on the court". Maybe this would show us something? Cousins’ average speed under Malone was 3.55 miles per hour. Under Corbin? 3.52 … a .03 difference. Now, this is obviously not a perfect statistic, but even still … if the effort level had dropped off a considerable amount, maybe something would have showed up here.

So then I started thinking "Well, this stat is sort of dumb, it probably doesn’t mean anything about anything", so I calculated Cousins’ speed (again, mph is all in game movements) in wins, which was 3.54 and in losses, which is 3.53. What a waste of time!

I kept digging for something. When players are unhappy and somewhat mopey they tend to take more jumpers. Simple reason, banging inside is hard work. Taking jumpers is easy.

With Malone, Cousins took 59% of his shots less than 5 feet from the basket. Under Corbin? 58%. If we stretched it out to less than 9 feet from the basket, it was 73% under Malone, 68% under Corbin. Does a 5% difference indicate anything?

I kept searching, basically comparing all of Cousins numbers pre and post Malone firing.

There is no rhyme or reason to the order of the following statistics I checked for discrepancy, but here are a few I wanted to write down. I looked for something on offense, on defense, in his player tracking, in rebounding, and I just couldn’t come up with anything close to concrete.

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The most obvious one in this chart is his lower FG% under Corbin. Personally, I’d chalk that one up to the new system and finding his rhythm. I say that because as I already mentioned earlier, it’s not like his FG% is tanking because he’s taking bad shots. He’s still shooting a majority of his field goals close to the basket. Some combination of system, fatigue, and poor overall team play is the culprit, but that is just a guess on my part.

His net rating is also considerably lower under Corbin, but that is not really a stat that Cousins has sole control over. When a team is getting beat the way the Kings have been getting beat, everyone’s net rating is going to suffer.

I did find something that actually made me abandon the whole project all together. Under Malone, Cousins was holding the player he was defending in a given game to a 1.5% lower field goal percentage than their average. Under Ty Corbin, Cousins has been holding his man to a 6.3% lower field goal percentage. He has been defending his man better under Corbin?

It made me realize that you just can’t statistically quantify hustle, demeanor, energy, etc. This is something that I already knew to a certain extent. It is not a controversial statement, but I thought I might have been able to find something to point to and say "Aha! That’s it!" and I just couldn’t do it.

This is also a pretty poor time to write something like this. All of my statistics used are up to date with last nights win over OKC where DeMarcus Cousins was nearly unstoppable.

I guess my final thought is this – I’m going to lay off DeMarcus Cousins. His actions on the court that we may deem ‘immature’ seem to have a larger impact in our minds than they do on the court. It doesn’t mean I want him to stand in one spot for six seconds while Rudy Gay plays isolation basketball, it just means that from a personal standpoint, I’m going try and stop thinking it means more than it does.

This is not the ‘end all be all’ post on Cousins demeanor on the court, or how it affects the Kings play. It’s just the research I took a couple of hours out of my morning to ponder. I had only planned on posting this if I had found something interesting, and then I thought that maybe the fact that I didn’t find anything interesting IS interesting.

The Kings are still 13-11 when he’s on the court.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)