DeMarcus Cousins

Paul George replaces injured DeMarcus Cousins on All-Star roster


Paul George replaces injured DeMarcus Cousins on All-Star roster

Paul George is an All-Star after all.

But it took a season-ending injury to Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins to get George on the roster.

The NBA announced on Saturday that Commissioner Adam Silver selected the Thunder forward to replace Cousins on Team LeBron.

Cousins suffered a ruptured Achillies tendon late in Friday's game against the Rockets and will miss the rest of the season.

When All-Star reserves were announced earlier in the week, Russell Westbrook took exception with his teammate being snubbed and took a shot at the Warriors for having four players headed to Los Angeles.

"Unbelievable. I think it’s just outrageous in my opinion. I don’t know who else made the team, but I know you got guys with four people from one team. You got guys complaining about being snubbed so they can get in. You got guys that just talk about it all the time, but the guys that deserve it should be in it. I just don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense a guy that leads the league in steals, compete every night, top two in his position, it don’t make any sense regardless of anything else… Everybody’s not an All-Star. Just because you get voted in don’t mean you’re an All-Star. I just think it’s outrageous," Westbrook told reporters on Thursday.

While George is replacing Cousins on the roster, the replacement in the starting lineup won't be determined until the coaching staff for Team LeBron is set. Boston's Brad Stevens is ineligible to coach the squad because he was the All-Star coach last season. 

This is George's fifth All-Star selection and third in a row.

With free agency looming, former Kings star Cousins suffers serious injury


With free agency looming, former Kings star Cousins suffers serious injury

A little over a year ago, we were reporting on the new $207 million extension Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins intended to sign with the Sacramento Kings.

That never came to be as the Kings traded Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans during the All-Star break as part of a five-player deal that brought Sacramento Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, along with draft picks. And only 12 months later, the news couldn’t be worse for the former King.

The 27-year-old, four-time All-Star center ruptured his Achilles in the final seconds of a battle with the Houston Rockets, according to multiple national reports. An MRI has been scheduled to confirm the diagnosis, but all indications are pointing towards the worst possible outcome for one of the game’s best bigs.

In his first full season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Cousins is posting huge numbers and has his team smack dab in the Western Conference playoff race. The 6-foot-11 Kentucky product is averaging 25.4 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.6 steals.  

The Pelicans currently sit at 27-21 and hold the sixth best record in the West. In his eighth NBA season, Cousins was in line to make his first playoff appearance after spending the first six-plus seasons of his career in Sacramento.

He, along with fellow All-Star power forward Anthony Davis, have carried the Pelicans all season long. The loss of Cousins is a huge blow for New Orleans.

To compound matters, Cousins is playing out the final year of his contract and was primed to make serious cash in free agency this summer. If his Achilles is in fact torn, he is facing a minimum of a six-month rehabilitation.

Judging by other players with a similar injury, Cousins a solid chance at being ready for training camp for the 2018-19 season. Rudy Gay tore his left Achilles in January of last season while a member of the Kings and returned in time to open the season with the San Antonio Spurs.  

Every player recovers at a different rate, but Cousins has a lot riding on his ability to return to the court sooner, rather than later. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for an incredibly talented young man.

Randolph makes statement to Cousins as Kings' leader: 'Bullies get bullied'


Randolph makes statement to Cousins as Kings' leader: 'Bullies get bullied'

It’s a new day in Sacramento. With five rookies, four second-year players and a lone third-year guy, the Kings are going the route of building through the draft on nitro. 

Despite hitting a hard reset button at the trade deadline last season, the Kings are only one game off their pace from a season ago. An 8-17 record is nothing to brag about, but it’s a better start than anyone should have expected.

Friday night’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans shows growth in a youthful team. The Kings competed well in their previous two games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers, only to come up short in crunch time. 

First compete, then learn how to win. That is the mantra for any young team. Sacramento is slowly grasping the concept.

The victory over the Pelicans was a stark reminder of the world the Kings once lived in. DeMarcus Cousins, the team’s former All-Star big, put on a show. He punished Sacramento’s depleted front line for 38 points and 11 rebounds, but like so many nights with the Kings, he came up short. 

Where the Kings were and where they are heading was captured in one moment in the fourth quarter. With 3:19 remaining and Sacramento trailing 100-91, Frank Mason III went to the rack and was fouled. When his teammates went to pick him up off the floor, Cousins started chirping.

Always ready to talk, Cousins said something to Buddy Hield and tempers started to flair. 

During his last few seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was Sacramento’s de facto leader. On more than one occasion, this exact scene played out and it rarely worked out for the Kings.

But the climate has changed in Kingsland. Hield didn’t even need to say a word. Veteran Zach Randolph stepped in and handled the situation. No one in the league wants a piece of Z-Bo, including DeMarcus Cousins. 

Randolph fielded questions following the game, but the real meat was hidden in the NBC Sports California television broadcast.

Following the dust up in the fourth quarter, Randolph and Cousins lined up while Mason shot free throws. With cameras rolling, Z-Bo defined the new direction of the Sacramento Kings franchise. 

“Where we’re from, bullies get bullied,” Randolph said to the official. Then looking directly at Cousins, Randolph continued, “In my hood, bullies get bullied.”

Sacramento outscored the Pelicans 11-2 in the final minutes of the fourth. Hield scored eight of those 11 points, including a 3-pointer to tie the game with 36.3 seconds remaining. 

On a team filled with players under the age of 24, the 36-year-old Randolph has quickly become the Kings’ rock. On the court, he’s strung together an incredible run of games, including a 35-point, 13-rebound performance against New Orleans. 

Over his last four games, Randolph is averaging 25 points and just under 11 rebounds per game. More importantly, the Kings are 2-2 over the stretch and they’ve competed with NBA heavyweights. 

“We just came out and played hard, it was a team win,” Randolph told NBC Sports California’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “My young fellas, hey, they’re amazing.” 

The 17-year NBA vet hit two huge 3-pointers in overtime and the young guys finished off the win. Randolph’s output on the floor carried the Kings, but his handling of Cousins made a statement to everyone on the team. When he’s on the floor, he is big brother and the team’s enforcer.