Blog Entry

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

Posted on: December 22, 2010 7:41 pm
Posted by Royce Young

Before the draft, most agreed: DeMarcus Cousins was the most gifted player in the draft. The hangup? His head. Scouts and general managers all over wondered if he was simply immature or if he had the potential to be one of the league's newest head cases.

So far, it's looking like the latter.

Against the Warriors Tuesday night with the Kings (who are 5-21, mind you) holding a five-point lead with about 20 seconds left, Golden State's Reggie Williams missed a free throw. Cousins walked off his low block position, put his hand to his throat and made a pretty clear choking gesture directed at Williams.

What happened next is what made this kind of a big deal. The Kings ended up the chokers, blowing the lead capped by a Vladamir Radmanovic 3-pointer to send the game to overtime where naturally, Sacramento lost.

According to the Sac Bee's Jason Jones, Kings coach Paul Westphal said Cousins has been fined and benched until he grows up and acts more "professional."

"It’s unprofessional, childish, embarrassing and it won’t be tolerated," Westphal told reporters.

Cousins, on the gesture: "It was immature. I was caught up in the game and let my emotions get the best of me and shouldn’t have done it. But if I would have did it and we won it probably wouldn’t have had the same consequences afterward. "

Cousins obviously has some stuff to learn. He's been criticized a bit this season already for being lazy and has been kicked out of a few practices for different issues. However, a benching and a fine for a clearly silly gesture seems a bit extreme. Cousins said he doesn't think he would've been punished had the Kings won. He's probably right, because nobody would've really taken notice.

But at the same time, Cousins is walking down a path of being a problem player and Westphal is trying to teach his young big man a lesson. My problem here is, is that message getting through? Because to me, it doesn't look like Westphal has any idea how to get through to Cousins. To me, it seems like everything is bouncing off.

I'm sure Westphal got the attention of Cousins for this, but what happens when Cousins really screws up? What does he get then? A month suspension? A $500,000 fine? Because for this little thing, Cousins has been hit with a stiff penalty. From here on, anything Cousins does will require an even bigger penalty. Is that the best way to get the most out of an immature player? Probably not.

Westphal is citing sportsmanship and professionalism in regards to the punishment. He's right. It was stupid for Cousins to do. He should be embarrassed. And when the Kings visit Oracle Arena, Warrior fans are going to punish him even more. Was what Cousins did stupid? Absolutely. Is it something he derserved a strong talking to for, possibly with bad language littered in? Definitely. But benched and fined for it? That's a bit, well, over-the-top it seems.

But the whole point of this shouldn't be about PR or making yourself look like you're in control. It has to be about what's best for your young player. It has to be about developing both his talent and his head. Does Westphal's punishment do that? I don't think so at all. He's probably not reaching Cousins at all here. Just making the gap even wider.

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2010 11:10 am

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

C'mon folks, as sports fans we have become waaaay to righteous, judgmental, and sensitive. For those who are all bent outta shape because of this...Honestly do you think D Cuz's "Choke" sign is the most horrible thing that has been said or done while a player is at the charity stripe? They're not exchanging recipes for Sugar Cookies!! Give me a break!! There is a reason why audio is not stationed under the hoop!! 

Also, for those judging this kids character, I'm pretty sure you did some stupid regrettable things when you were his age. Plus, HE PLAYS FOR THE KINGS!! Westphal gets treated like a substitute teacher, The team barely gets 5 seconds of highlights on Sports Center!! No one takes this team seriously. Why is this even news ???

We should be more focused on, how do you chastise a young arrogant brat who probably makes 5-10 times the coaches salary?? Can it be done?

Don't blame the players, look to the GM's and Ownership, who "Pay" for their services.

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2010 9:15 am

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

You hit it on the head. Its obvious,  this wannabe journalist that he and his Sportsline cronies that they have no idea what being in the real world is like and attempting to mature and grow a young mind.  You must be diligent and tough. His quote of "If we had won it wouldnt matter" is a perfect example of how HE DOESNT GET IT. Thats not the point, the point is you dont act in that manner regardless of any situation. You have class and win with dignity (in this case lose).  Not prematurely make a bogus gesture and lose the game.  This is another example of why people have turned away from the NBA.  We went from watching professionals and the best ever in the 90's to watching little more than a high school basketball game...

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2010 1:17 am

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

lol too funny.. Cousins better watch it though, he's a big man, but Williams went to Virginia Military Institute.. I'm sure he was taught combatives at some point.. Huah!

Since: Jun 14, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2010 12:30 am

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

Im not surprised one bit. This dude has major character issues. 

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2010 12:08 am

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

why is this shocking to anyone?? 

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2010 11:49 pm

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

What team was Spike playing for?

Since: Oct 26, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2010 10:45 pm


Westpaul better start showing Demarcus more respect or he'll shut it down for even more games and head to a new team in the offseason.  he's a real talent---westpaul better recognize it soon, or he'll be out of a job, again.

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2010 9:02 pm

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

Haha ohh come on how is this a big deal?  Reggie Miller did the same thing to Spike Lee and it was hilarious!

Since: May 16, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2010 8:30 pm

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

Have you ever coached or taught in a classroom? Based on the article I would say no. Does an immature, head-case, or lazy person/player change over night or even in a couple months. NO! Mental development takes just as long if not longer than physical development.....we're talking years. Arenas is as immature as any player in the league and look at how he continues to act. Becoming a mature professional by Cousins takes constant teaching, assertive discipline, and positive/negative reinforcements. Westphal is just trying to speed up the process. Get use to these antics by Cousins for at least the next couple of years.

Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2010 8:24 pm

Cousins chokes on his choke, gets benched for it

I liked reading your post, but for all the reasons you mentioned, I think Westphal did exactly the right thing.  This is probably thing #17 that Cousins has done wrong.  None of the vets on that team start, so who's going to tell him to zip it?  Carl Landry?  And, what are the Kings giving up by having to play Dalembert for one night -- a loss?  Better to bust his balls now while he's young. 

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