In his critics’ eyes, DeMarcus Cousins is a locker-room cancer, an chosen large male whose flighty ways bluster to harm even a many bewitched of rosters. But to paint Cousins as a villain, one contingency brush over a friendlier, some-more merciful side of a four-time All-Star.
Therein lies what creates Cousins one of a league’s biggest enigmas: For any chairman who sees him as a testy bully, there are copiousness of others who know him as a big-hearted 28-year-old who would do anything for someone in need.
In July, when a Warriors sealed Cousins to a one-year agreement for $5.3 million after any other authorization passed, they banked on removing a latter version. Ask anyone in Golden State’s locker room, and Cousins has been a distant cry from a rioter scandalous for run-ins with coaches, teammates, opponents, referees, fans and media members.
In reduction than dual weeks of training camp, as he recovers from a ripped left Achilles tendon that should sideline him for a start of a season, Cousins has emerged as a reputable manager and teammate. Those who derided a Warriors for bringing him in competence have a tough time reconciling how he has peppered a team’s immature centers with pointers, stayed committed in his rehab and cheered aloud from a sideline in dual preseason games.
“People competence see him a certain way, though he’s genuine chill to me,” third-year core Damian Jones said. “He’s been good to have around, honestly.”
When Cousins assimilated Golden State, he famous that he indispensable to do some-more this deteriorate than come behind from a potentially career-altering damage or labour his game. His preference to pointer with a back-to-back champions was mostly about overhauling his reputation.
Entering his eighth NBA season, Cousins is a league’s best actor to have never played in a playoff game. His 6½-year run in Sacramento was noted by technical fouls, unflattering sound bites and losing. Though Cousins stayed out of difficulty for a many partial in New Orleans, a Pelicans tended to play improved though him.
Cousins has pronounced that not one authorization offering him a agreement during giveaway agency. The reason was simple: In further to perplexing to overcome an damage that has derailed many players’ careers, Cousins wasn’t deliberate a right fit for teams’ culture.
Seemingly out of options, he incited to what he called his “last resort,” phoning Warriors ubiquitous manager Bob Myers and seeking to pointer for a mid-level exception. It was a low-risk, high-reward event for Golden State. With 4 other All-Stars on a roster, it can means to play on Cousins for a year and trust that a complement will trump any occasional mood pitch from a cherished addition.
In Oakland, Cousins has found an sourroundings altogether opposite from a ones he encountered in Sacramento and New Orleans. Winning is a Warriors’ expectation, not usually their goal, and they work with a self-assuredness that comes with 3 NBA titles in 4 years. Instead of criticizing Cousins for his romantic tendencies, they inspire him to welcome his bravado.
“He’s genuine cool,” second-year core Jordan Bell said. “People paint a design about him given he yells a lot. He’s usually like Draymond (Green). He yells, though he’s a genuine cold dude.”
One of a biggest questions this preseason is that of a 3 immature large group — Jones, Bell or Kevon Looney — will start during core before Cousins returns. In early practices and games, Cousins has pulled any aside to send what he sees from a sideline.
During a first-quarter timeout in Golden State’s preseason opener opposite Minnesota, Cousins reminded Jones to produce home a asperse whenever he has an open pushing lane. Six days later, when Jones snagged an erring throw pass from Kevin Durant and threw it down for a howling alley-oop, Cousins, grinning, erupted from his chair along a baseline.
“We’ve been unequivocally happy with how he’s been a manager to a younger guys,” conduct manager Steve Kerr pronounced of Cousins, who hasn’t oral to reporters given media day given he is sidelined by an injury. “Whenever they need something, he’s there to help.”
It is a partial of Cousins’ celebrity that some NBA fans overlook. While with Sacramento in tumble 2015, he lonesome a wake losses for a slain internal high schooler. Two years later, while with a Pelicans, Cousins’ village overdo in Alabama, New Orleans, Sacramento and South Africa warranted him a initial Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award.
It is a good maze of Cousins: How could a actor with such an unpalatable repute be a favourite to so many? Those closest to him reckon that his picture problem is a outcome of being misunderstood. Because Cousins doesn’t trust many people, he feels gentle deliberating his good deeds usually with his middle circle.
In entrance weeks, as Cousins nears his lapse to a court, Kerr is vigilant on stability to settle a attribute built on trust. Only afterwards can Cousins finally strew his repute as a locker-room cancer.
“I found a new place where I’m being welcomed with open arms,” Cousins wrote in a recent essay for The Players’ Tribune. “… A year from now, looking back, we know this is going to be a best preference we ever made.”
Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Con_Chron