The evolution of DeMarcus Cousins, the basketball player, continues.
In his seventh NBA season, the 26-year-old big is posting obscene numbers. Following his 36-point, 20-rebound game Monday night in Washington, Cousins currently ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring at 28.7 points per night and 11th in rebounding, averaging 10.4 boards.
Cousins is still adapting to Dave Joerger’s high-post offense, but it has afforded him the opportunity to further a trend that he started last season under George Karl.
The two-time All-Star is a load in the post. He can take you off the dribble or throw up a high-arching turnaround jumper from mid-range. But where Cousins is really excelling in his seventh NBA season is from behind the 3-point line.
After a rough 1-for-6 mark from downtown against the Wizards on Monday night, Cousins is now shooting 39 percent from behind the arc. But coming into the Washington game, he had hit an astounding 12-of-19 from deep over his previous three games and 24-for-49 over the Kings’ last eight contests.
Cousins came into the 2015-16 season having shot just 69 total 3-pointers over his first five years in the league. After shooting 210 triples last season, Cousins already has 77 attempts in the 2016-17 season, averaging a career-best 4.3 attempts per game. He’s pacing to shoot upwards of 350 3-pointers this season.
A side-by-side comparison of Cousins 3-point shot chart from the 2015-16 season to this year shows that the Kings’ star big hasn’t changed his approach, he’s just improved his accuracy from deep.
Cousins has become deadly from the top of the key, knocking down 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers from straight on. But he’s a dead-eye from from the extended elbows as well, were he’s hit 17-of-42 on the season (40.5 percent).
Whether Cousins can keep up the torrid pace is anyone’s guess. He’s second in the NBA in usage percentage (36.9 percent) behind only Russell Westbrook. Early in the season, Joerger has relied heavily on Cousins to not only shoulder the scoring load, but also to run the entire offense through.
Rudy Gay leads the Kings in 3-point percentage at 40 percent, but Cousins is a close second. While it makes plenty of sense for the 6-foot-11, 270 pound big to go into the post and score from close range, you can’t ignore the fact that the long ball has added another dimension to Cousins’ game.