As expected, Kings third year center DeMarcus Cousins came up short for an Olympic bid when the team was announced this evening. Cousins was a member of the Select Team, but due to injuries to NBA big men LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Andrew Bynum, there was small glimmer of hope that he could still be added to the team that will fight for gold in London this summer.
Team USA will enter the tournament with only one center, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks. The Clippers Blake Griffin and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves are the only true power forwards on the roster, but LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will probably see time in the post as well.
“We feel our pool is deep,” Coach Mike Kzyzewski said during the live announcement show this afternoon on NBATV. “The guys in the pool have equity. Most of them have been either Olympic Champions or World Champions and we’re just going to adjust the style of play to try to counter-act the bigness of a couple of the international teams that we have to face.”
Rookie Anthony Davis has been placed on a short list of alternates, but according to Coach K, wasn’t able to practice due to a left ankle sprain he sustained last week in New Orleans. Team USA can add any player between now and the opening ceremonies if an injury occurs.
Cousins did his best to fight his way onto the team, bringing a toughness that caught the eye of both Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.
“European basketball is extremely physical,” Kobe Bryant said following yesterday’s practice. “And he (Cousins) brings a physicality to the game that really changes the energy of the game. He’s not afraid to make contact, he’s not afraid to upset guys and kind of make the game uncomfortable.”
While Kobe speaks with a certain eloquence, Carmelo Anthony didn’t need nearly as many syllables when describing Cousins influence on practice.
“Yeah, he was fouling the (expletive) out of everybody,” Anthony added.
Both Cousins and the Sacramento Kings front office have to be disappointed tonight. A summer playing with the NBA’s elite could have done wonders for Cousins both on and off the court. If there is a silver lining, Cousins has made an amazing dedication to both honing his body and his game during this off-season in preparation for the games this summer. That dedication will likely translate well to the floor this coming season for the Kings.