Can Kings coach Michael Malone get DeMarcus Cousins to become a more mature team player?

Leading Off: Kings' new owner won't coddle Cousins

Published: Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 - 7:12 am

If DeMarcus Cousins can have Paul Westphal run out of town and can verbally backhand Keith Smart and only have his wrist slapped as a result, what might the Kings' resident bad boy do to a greenhorn like Michael Malone?

Malone wasn't a first-round draft choice like Westphal, who played 12 NBA seasons and in five All-Star Games. And Malone hasn't coached nearly 600 NBA games like Westphal, who has won more games than he has lost.

Malone didn't make the winning shot for Indiana against Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA championship game like Smart, whose heroics are played nonstop each March just as the movie "A Christmas Story" airs constantly every December. And Malone wasn't a second-round draft pick in 1988 like Smart, nor has he coached 263 games for three NBA teams.

So will Malone be chewed up and spit out by Cousins sometime around Thanksgiving?

It's unlikely.

Cousins soon will learn that the rules have changed. He won't be allowed to be disrespectful to his coaches or bully teammates without severe consequences. His enablers, the Maloof brothers, have cashed in on the team, and there's a new owner in town, Vivek Ranadive, who we bet didn't make his fortune in the high-tech industry by coddling troublesome employees.

What to watch

NBA, Indiana at Miami, 5:30 p.m., TNT: The survivor of this rugged series will play the rested Spurs starting Thursday.

Today's poll

Can Kings coach Michael Malone get DeMarcus Cousins to become a more mature team player?

• Yes, Cousins will respond.

• No, Cousins will continue to be disruptive.

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field

Weekend poll results

Which Kings starter from last season should be considered untouchable?

• DeMarcus Cousins: 18%

• Tyreke Evans: 19%

• John Salmons: 1%

• Isaiah Thomas: 24%

• Jason Thompson: 4%

• None of them: 34%

Total votes: 923

Call The Bee's Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527. Follow him on Twitter @SacBeeVictor.

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