DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t won a lot of games in the NBA. His brief career has included six seasons with the Sacramento Kings and he’s never come close to making the playoffs in that time. So when he gets a chance to be a part of a team that is expected to win, it probably feels quite a bit different than what he’s used to in his professional basketball experience. His time with USA Basketball as they won a gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics was an extremely positive experience for Cousins.
They had to adjust to a different style of basketball and overcome the best in the world. It didn’t always look pretty but Team USA went 8-0 and dominated the medal rounds after struggling in group play. Cousins, who just turned 26, could get another crack at a gold medal in 2020 when the Olympics go to Tokyo. If he’s being considered for the roster than and his body feels good, Cousins wants to play for USA Basketball once again. From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
Cousins, who turned 26 during the Rio Games, wants to return to Team USA.
“I’m open to [coming back for Tokyo 2020]. I’ll be older then, so it depends on how my body feels. As of right now, where I’m at, absolutely, I’m open to it,” he said. “I think people don’t understand [how hard this winning is]. They see the guys on the roster and they think automatically, they’re supposed to win. This [international game] isn’t our game. This isn’t the way we play. This is an adjustment for every guy on the roster.”
Cousins had some highs and some lows during those eight games in Rio. There were times in which he couldn’t get the benefit of the whistle with the FIBA referees and would foul out extremely quickly. There were other times in which he came off the bench and demolished the opposing frontcourt as he was too big, too strong, and too skilled for his big man counterparts. Going in with the expectation of the gold medal didn’t mean they didn’t have to work for it.
That work was a little tighter than it was supposed to be, which tested guys like Cousins in the process. Cousins now has a chance to bring that experience and what he learned back to the Kings as he gets yet another coaching change with the hiring of Dave Joerger this summer. The Kings aren’t projected to be a playoff team as of right now in the crowded and tough Western Conference, but perhaps this is a change in the tide for the organization as they try to end their playoff drought.