DeMarcus Cousins was a force to be reckoned with back in his prime. Fully coming into his own during the 2017-18 season, Cousins was an inside-out beast, capable of bullying defenders on the block, blowing by slower big men off the dribble, and spacing the floor on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Alas, Cousins suffered a torn Achilles that his career would never recover from, making him one of the most forgotten and unheralded stars of the 2010s.
Nevertheless, Cousins appears to have found an ally in noted pundit Stephen A Smith, a man who's known for his scathing criticism and sharp candor. Smith, in an appearance on Podcast P with Paul George presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, defended Boogie with all his might. In fact, even with Cousins' injury-related decline, Smith said that he could be competing with the likes of Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Anthony Davis in the conversation of the best big men in the association.
“DeMarcus Cousins, right now, would be a top five big man in basketball. Period. With his skillset, his body, his strength, his basketball IQ, his shooting ability, everything: he would be a top five player,” Smith said.
“DeMarcus Cousins right now would be a top 5 big man in basketball… Where's forgiveness at?… You got people in the league ostracizing him because of a personality he once had.”
– Stephen A. Smith 😳
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) August 15, 2023
However, Stephen A Smith also noted that Cousins' penchant for poor body language and knack for complaining incessantly towards officials, which combine to form his reputation as a petulant, tantrum-throwing diva, destroyed how people perceived him through the years — affecting his career in the process.
“Now you might have, ‘Oh man, he shouldn't have been so acerbic and truculent. He shouldn't have been this way, shouldn't have been that way.' Aight, y'all. Come on man, where's forgiveness at? Where's understanding? Where's compassion?” Smith asserted. “You got people in the league ostracizing him because of a personality he once had.”
Even with DeMarcus Cousins' evident decline in athleticism, Stephen A Smith believes that Boogie deserves to get another shot to prove that he belongs in the NBA, even after a few unsuccessful stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets in recent years.
“He does not deserve to be in Puerto Rico playing basketball,” Smith added.
At the end of the day, Cousins has to prove that he can survive on the defensive end in today's fast-paced, space-the-floor NBA. That's what it boils down to at the end of the day because, as Stephen A Smith said, Boogie got game.