What DeMarcus Cousins taught George Karl, per former Sonics, Nuggets, Kings coach
George Karl coached big man DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento for two seasons. In that span, Karl had some key realizations about the center position, particularly how it affects a team’s chances of winning.
Through his experience with Cousins, Karl noticed that when the center is the best player on the squad, it’s pretty difficult for the team to stack up victories.
“The thing DeMarcus taught me — I’m not anti-center because I think there’s a need for a big guy in basketball,” Karl said, per Jason Jones of The Athletic. “But what I found is when your center is the best player on the court, it’s hard to get your team elevated. …
Karl culled an 11-19 and 33-49 record in two seasons with the Kings. However, his observation is not exclusive to DeMarcus Cousins. Karl also pointed out the likes of Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. Note that in his stint with the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis was performing up to par but his team just couldn’t win. The same is true for Towns.
“I remember there were games our first year where DeMarcus was the best player on the court but we couldn’t win. When you have the best guy on the court, I’ve always felt you have a chance and you should win. I’ve said that about LaMarcus Aldridge, I’ve said that about the kid in Minnesota (Karl-Anthony Towns), I’ve said it about Anthony Davis, with big guys and the power of controlling the outcome of a game. There’s still a need to have the big guy play well. At the same time, the guards, the pace of play and the 3-point shooting, elevates the other parts of the game more.”
It’s a brave yet controversial statement from one of the most prolific coaches in NBA history, who had a falling out with Cousins, too. Not everyone might agree but it’s noteworthy of reflection.