New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony took a break from his team's long-shot playoff push to comment on combustible center DeMarcus Cousins in the aftermath of New York's 107-99 win over Cousins' Sacramento Kings.
According to the Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones, Anthony expressed a desire to mentor the young Cousins:
I love him, I love him. I’m trying to get him to calm down a little bit but I love him, his game, what he can do out there on the basketball court. He stuffs the stat sheet, points, rebounds. He can pass the ball, got a good feel for the game. He just does a lot out there but I’m just trying to get him to calm down out there a little bit. I’m working on that, that’s my project.
Now, Cousins doesn't need much mentoring on his game. Though he was not named to the 2014 All-Star Game due to a glut of quality big men in the Western Conference, the 23-year-old Cousins is already one of the league's premier frontcourt players. He has truly taken a leap forward this season, averaging 22.5 points and 11.8 rebounds on 49.3 percent shooting.
Believe it or not, Cousins actually leads nine-time All-Star Anthony in player efficiency rating (PER), 26.2 to 25.0.
But Cousins still struggles with his anger. He is currently tied with Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Love for the league lead in technical fouls with 15. He has consistently finished among the league leaders in techs during his four-year career:
- 2013-14: 15 techs (tied first)
- 2012-13: 17 techs (first)
- 2011-12: 12 techs (second)
- 2010-11: 12 techs (fifth)
But Anthony hardly has room to judge. He has consistently finished in the top 10 in techs during the same period, though he has slipped to 15th this season, with a mere eight techs. With players like Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire (8 techs) and Tyson Chandler (7 techs), the Knicks don't exactly lead the league in composure.
As The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring pointed out, the Knicks' lack of maturity has really hurt them this season:
It is hard to say precisely what explains New York's tendency to fade when opposing teams make runs. But the lack of leadership--particularly compared with last year, when the Knicks at one point were the most veteran team in NBA history--has seemingly played a role.
Anthony isn't likely to be a teammate of Cousins anytime soon. If the soon-to-be free agent returns to New York in the offseason, perhaps he should spend less time talking about mentoring other teams' players and more time mentoring his own teammates.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.