I mean, that pretty much says it all. That actually happened in the waning moments of the Sacramento Kings' 119-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night — after fouling out with 6:48 left in the game and the Kings up 12 on the Grizz, DeMarcus Cousins donned coach Keith Smart's suit jacket, stood on the sidelines and coached the Kings to their third straight victory.
Cousins' record stands at 1-0, which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, gives him the highest winning percentage in NBA history.
"He decided, 'Coach, let me coach,'" Smart said. "I said, 'Fine. But if I get fined, you're paying.' [The jacket] actually fit him. Either he's losing weight, or I'm gaining weight."
Cousins' chic ensemble — jacket, towel, T-shirt and shorts — was finished beautifully by the wad of tissue stuffed into his nostril to staunch the bleeding that resulted from a third-quarter collision with Memphis' Dante Cunningham. It's like Oscar de la Renta always says: All of the interesting fashion innovations come from Sacramento.
On the other sideline, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was not thrilled with his team's effort: "I don't want to talk about any individual person. All I want to talk about is that we got our butts kicked because we did not play hard and did not play together." May I suggest giving your coat and clipboard to Zach Randolph? Or, better yet, Tony Allen? He has a knack for getting through to teammates.
The post-foul-out foray into coaching capped another strong performance by Cousins, who finished with 23 points on 16 shots, five rebounds, four steals, three assists and a level of work on opposing number Marc Gasol that Cowbell Kingdom bloggers Jonathan Santiago and James Ham say left "no question that Cousins was the more dominant big man tonight." That should come as no surprise; the sophomore has been an absolute monster since Smart took over from deposed King Paul Westphal, and is now averaging better than 16 points and 10 rebounds per game in less than 30 minutes per contest.
In the aftermath of Westphal's firing, knee-jerk public reaction often centered on the perceived wrongdoings of DeMarcus the Malcontent, a sour and demonstrative kid sabotaging his coach and always spoiling for a fight. Those with better fingertips for Sacramento's situation saw the problem as more nuanced, and an issue of coaching. Our own Marc J. Spears wrote that the only path to success for Smart, Cousins and the Kings would be for coach and player to develop a relationship each could rely on; by the looks of things, that relationship has started to blossom.
Given room to bloom, Cousins has gone from a problem in the huddle to a serious problem in the middle for opposing defenses. It's great news for Kings fans thirsty for signs of improvement during another year near the Western Conference's basement, and for fans of giant men putting on sport coats that aren't their own. So, great news for all of us, really.
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