DALLAS -- Of all the players who were on the bubble to make this year's NBA All-Star team, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was probably more deserving of anyone who didn't earn a trip to the prestigious midseason classic.
Cousins is 10th in the league in scoring (22.6), tied for fifth in rebounding (11.6), fifth in double-doubles (28), ninth in steals (1.78), 22nd in blocks (1.2) and 35th in field goal shooting (48.8 percent). In other words, Cousins is a stat machine waiting to happen.
"I thought if you look at his numbers and if you look at those numbers alone, he's worthy of an All-Star roster spot,'' Kings coach Michael Malone said after Friday's shootaround at American Airlines Center. "But the coaches vote, they decide to leave him off.
"I think a large part of that is our (15-30) record, to be very honest. What I told DeMarcus is, 'For you to be a perennial All-Star you have to be on a winning team, that way it takes all that out of the equation. Don't get down, this is just another opportunity for you to continue to work hard and use it as motivation,' and he's handled it very well.''
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds) and Minnesota Kevin Love (25 points, 12.9 rebounds) are the only two players with numbers similar to Cousins. And they both earned berths to this year's All-Star game.
"That's where you say, 'Well, if those guys made it, why not DeMarcus,' '' Malone said. "But the coaches made their decision, we respect that decision and I hope when he does come back that he's DeMarcus Cousins an animal.''
Cousins has missed the past four games with a sprained left ankle and is a game-time decision for tonight's 7:30 contest against the Dallas Mavericks. Meanwhile, Malone is standing by his No. 1 player and wonders why he got snubbed by the Western Conference coaches who voted for the seven All-Star reserves out West.
"I don't think there's another center in the NBA that can do what he does and has the array of skills that he does, who can rebound, bring the ball up the ocurt, make an assist, score with the back to the basket, score facing the basket, pass, get blocks, get steals,'' Malone said. "He does a little bit of everything.
"It's definitely disappointing, but not a setback. We have bigger goals as a team and I think he'll use it as motivation moving forward to try to help this team become, instead of 15-30, maybe 30-15. Now he's a lock to make that team in my eyes.''
-- Dwain Price
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