After the NBA counted the votes for the 2014 All-Star Game for the first time, Sacramento Kings center, Demarcus Cousins, ranked 12th among Western Conference front-court players.
If this doesn’t convince you that the current NBA voting system needs to be changed, I’m not sure what will. I hate to insult fan intelligence, but it is clear that picking All-Stars is a process too easily contaminated by social media and name recognition. The fan’s role in All-Star selection needs to be reviewed and reduced, in my opinion.
Cousins, who is having a career year, is behind Anthony Davis, Pau Gasol, Andre Iguodala, Dirk Nowitzki, and Chandler Parsons, among others worthy of consideration for the All-Star nod.
Demarcus Cousins should start at center for the Western Conference on February 16th in New Orleans. Whether you decide based on statistics or what you see on the floor, Demarcus Cousins is ASG material.
The Stats (All statistics obtained from ESPN.com)
When we talk about Cousins’ numbers, we must first talk about one stat before all else; Usage Rate. Usage Rate, according to ESPN.com, is a statistic that “measures¬†the number of possessions a player uses per 40 minutes.” Thanks to the mind of the genius-stat lord John Hollinger, we can measure just how much one player gets the ball on offense.
Cousins’ usage rate is 31.7, the second highest in the league. Only OKC’s Russell Westbrook has a higher usage rate (32.0). After Cousins, the next highest usage rate among centers is Pau Gasol (24.4, 34th overall).
What this means is that Cousins is relied on more by his team more than pretty much any other player.
And he has responded with his unrivaled play.
Despite the heavy load on his shoulders, Cousins has been dominant. The advanced stats show Cousins’ excellence on both ends. Demarcus ranks first among all centers in defensive rebounding rate (30.9), value added, estimated wins added, and player efficiency rating (PER).
See below for a breakdown on these statistical categories:
Rebound Rate: the percentage of missed shots that a player rebounds. Rebound Rate = (100 x (Rebounds x Team Minutes)) divided by [Player Minutes x (Team Rebounds + Opponent Rebounds)]
Value Added: the estimated number of points a player adds to a team‚Äôs season total above what a ‘replacement player would produce. Value Added = ([Minutes * (PER – PRL)] / 67). PRL (Position Replacement Level = 11.5 for power forwards, 11.0 for point guards, 10.6 for centers, 10.5 for shooting guards and small forwards.
Estimated Wins Added:¬†Value Added divided by 30, giving the estimated number of wins a player adds to a team‚Äôs season total above what a ‘replacement player’ would produce.
The fact that Cousins is the most efficient center (and the 5th most efficient in all of basketball) while being used so much is a hell of an accomplishment.
And if you’re not one for the advanced stats, Cousins ranks in the top 10 among centers in nearly every “basic” statistical category. Big Cuz is 9th in minutes per game, 4th in total assists, 3rd in assists per game, and has the 2nd most double-doubles of any center in the league.
Demarcus averages more points per game than any center while having the most double-doubles of any center not named Andre Drummond. ¬†He also has the most steals of any center. ¬†Additionally, no center gets to the free throw line more than Cousins. It’s not even close. DMC has 263 free throw attempts this season. The next closest center is Nikola Pekovic with 161 attempts.
The Highlights (via Youtube)
The only other logical candidate to start at center for the Western Conference is Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets. In their head-to-head matchups, Cousins has thoroughly dominated Howard. In their first matchup, DMC had 21 pts and 10 rebounds, while Howard turned in a measly 13 and 10 coupled with 5 turnovers. Here, Cousins shows his ability to go coast to coast and finish.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, Cousins took over the last two minutes of a road win at Houston.
Cousins showed his ability to compete against the best in a 27 pt, 17 rebound overtime win over the champion Miami Heat.
Cousins’ best performance was a 32 point, 19 rebound destruction of the Dallas Mavericks in which Cousins was 12-14 from the field.
Cousins displays an unmatched arsenal of moves around the rim, fantastic efficiency, and is growing as a leader. While Cousins is in no way a perfect player (he struggles mightily with pick and roll defense¬†and leads the league in technical fouls), he is a quickly improving star at the young age of 23.
He is the owner of a new 4 year, $62 million contract. ¬†He is the star of a success-starved basketball town and the NBA’s next great big man.
And, if the NBA voters can come to their senses, the deserved starting center for the Western Conference in this year’s All-Star Game will without a doubt, be Cousins.
Thanks a lot for reading and be sure to leave your comments and thoughts below.