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January 4, 2012
The Morning After: What DeMarcus Cousins is doing well; what Kings want him to do better

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - If much of rebounding is about effort, DeMarcus Cousins was trying hard Tuesday night.

Cousins grabbed eight rebounds in 22 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies, coming off the bench for the first time this season.

It was Cousins first game back since being excused from Sunday's win against New Orleans over a trade demand he says he never made.

Cousins averages 10.6 rebounds this season. So even though his shot has been off (31 percent) he hasn't let that affect another vital part of his game.

"That's what I do," Cousins said. "I try to grab everything that comes off the board."

But after his falling out with coach Paul Westphal, it will take more than a game to work his way back into the starting lineup.

Why?

Because his benching isn't being deemed punishment by Westphal, it's because Cousins isn't playing well, in spite of his improved rebounding to start the season.

And playing better isn't the only thing Westphal wants to see from Cousins.

Westphal has made it clear it will be a process for Cousins to show he's committed to his teammates by a change in attitude.

The root of this Cousins-Westphal spat is Cousins did not like being called selfish, so he has to do some things to prove to Westphal that he's not selfish.

So what else can Cousins do better?

What are some of the negative actions Westphal alluded to in his statement Sunday when Cousins was sent home?

The organization wants to see Cousins become a better teammate.

No yelling at teammates over bad decisions. Not demanding the ball and clogging the lane to take away driving lanes from guards.

Also running back hard on defense after bad offensive possessions is also something the organization wants to see more of.

Those are some of the things he can do to prove he is "buying in" to the team concept and not the selfish player he's been portrayed as nationally in the last few days.




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