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DeMarcus Cousins on his influence on Nikola Jokic — "I credit myself. I know what I’ve done in this game"

For DeMarcus Cousins, the rise of the modern-day big man wouldn't be possible without him.
Denver Nuggets center DeMarcus Cousins and center Nikola Jokic

DeMarcus Cousins and Nikola Jokic

It’s only in the playoffs that some fans became aware that DeMarcus Cousins is still in the NBA, donning the Denver Nuggets jersey. This isn’t a diss on Cousins, but a reminder of how a roller coaster ride his career has been in the last few years. 

Cousins seems aware of this, too. He knows that some may have forgotten that once upon a time, he was the best big man in the league. So much that Cousins believes he had a significant influence on teammate Nikola Jokic — who’s now considered the model of the modern-day big man.

The first big

Cousins was asked if he feels he’s looking in a mirror when he sees Jokic play. He did not hesitate with his answer and even gave a brief overview of his career. In his mind, Boogie was the real prototype of the modern-day NBA big man.

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“Absolutely. Not to take anything away from anything, Nikola Jokić. He is a one-of-one. When it comes to these modern-day bigs we see today, that we’re praising today, I feel like I’m the godfather. And they won’t give me the credit, which is fine. But I credit myself. I know what I’ve done in this game. I’m the first big getting triple-doubles. I’m first big shooting 3s. I was getting triple-doubles when there was two bigs in the paint, when there was a power forward and a center. I’ve been doing this,”

DeMarcus Cousins, Andscape.

Not a single soul would dare contradict Cousins’ self-assessment. Not only because he’s big, strong, and won’t hesitate to confront anyone who disses him, but also because he’s speaking the truth. In his stint with the Sacramento Kings, Cousins averaged as much as 27.8 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. He also shot as high as 35.6 % from deep which is a decent clip for a big man.

Victim of a chaotic franchise

Despite his stellar numbers with the Kings, Cousins never made the playoffs in six and a half-season stint there. No one has blamed Boogie for this. Almost everyone agrees that the Kings are one chaotic franchise. They had a gem in Cousins but chose not to surround him with the proper pieces.

People were reminded once again how poorly managed the Kings are after the team traded away Tyrese Haliburton — a fan favorite and a young gun poised to be great. The last time the Kings made the playoffs was in the '05/'06 season. After another roster shake-up and an impending coaching change, this streak will likely extend to a few more years.

The Kentucky product may go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in history. What if a better franchise picked him up? What if he didn’t suffer a series of injuries that slowed his rise to basketball dominance? These are tough and sad questions to assess, especially since we’ll never know the answers.

The good thing for Cousins is that he seems to be in a good place physically and mentally. At 31-years-old, Cousins still has ample time to be a part of a championship team.


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