When it comes to the Sacramento Kings, it begins and ends with DeMarcus Cousins. The All-Star is a force that punishes opposing defenses on a nightly basis under the basket. Despite the strength and footwork that makes him who he is, the Kings are looking to add a new skill to Cousins' offensive tool chest this season: three-point shooting.
We've already heard how Cousins will be roaming all over the court on offense this season, sprinkling in more perimeter shooting and spending time at the power forward spot. As Cousins was practicing his threes next to Ben McLemore during Monday's Kings practice, head coach George Karl told reporters he is comfortable with his big man taking one or two three-point shots in games this season.
"I think Cuz kind of understands what is necessary. He has the skill to make threes. I thought he'd be making a few more right now ... but I think I'd like to see him shoot one, a couple a game. Maybe when he makes one, don't be afraid to take another," Karl said. "I think it's important that if he comes out here he's one of our top six shooters, so if we're going to let those guys shoot them, we've got to let Cuz shoot them too."
Cousins' best shooting season came in 2013-14 when he shot 49 percent from the field. Obviously, the bulk of his damage (and the reason for his high percentage) comes from being dominant around the basket, but his midrange jump shot has improved in recent seasons and his free throw percentage also has jumped from 68 percent in his rookie season to 78 percent last season. Cousins also proved he can make bunches of threes in September's Kentucky v. UNC Alumni Charity Game. But the kickoff to Boogie's campaign to be a three-point threat in the NBA didn't exactly start with a bang - in the preseason, he went 1-12 from beyond the arc in five games (he took at least one three in each game). That being said, Karl appears to be OK with Cousins attempting to adapt to how the game is moving toward more shooting.
"Being able to make the three ball with a big man is spacing and it frees the ball up to play. It's easier to get a big guy open than it is to get a guard open," Karl said. "I think we all know that the shooting big is now becoming the strong personality of many, many good teams."
One person who wasn't convinced on using Cousins as a three-point threat, at least on Kings media day, is general manager Vlade Divac. Though it came with a humorous tone, Divac had this to say.
"I saw him making those threes in Kentucky, I said, ‘well, look, I found my stretch four,'" Divac said. "But then I told him, ‘I saw you can do it, just stay away from it, just go inside.'"
If Cousins, who has long toyed with the idea of shooting threes, can hit a few shots from beyond the arc in a game it could help the Kings stretch the floor. Cousins is dominant as a "traditional" big man, however, and of course, the Kings will use him as such, but you have to wonder if this effort to occasionally move Boogie away from the basket is here to stay.