Jose Luis Villegas /

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins shakes hands with head coach Michael Malone during a timeout in the fourth quarter on Friday night, January 10, 2014 between the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic at Sleep Train Arena.


Who is the best center in the NBA?

Leading Off: Why wouldn’t Cousins be All-Star reserve?

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 - 5:58 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014 - 7:27 pm

When the reserves for next month’s All-Star Game are announced today, we expect Kings center DeMarcus Cousins to be included.

Cousins is averaging 22.6 points, best among players listed as centers, and 11.6 rebounds, fourth among centers. When you factor in that no centers were selected for the Western Conference’s starting lineup – Minnesota’s Kevin Love and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers are power forwards – it makes the case for Cousins even stronger.

So why wouldn’t the coaches select Cousins as a reserve? Though his numbers say he should be picked, it might come down to a numbers game that doesn’t favor him.

There are many Western Conference players deserving of consideration for the seven reserve spots (two frontcourt, three backcourt, two wild card), including Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis, Mike Conley and Goran Dragic. Plus, figure one spot goes to a Spurs player, either Tim Duncan or Tony Parker, because of their record.

If Cousins isn’t selected, perhaps it’s because he’s not as well-liked or respected by the coaches as some other players. Though he has toned down his on-court theatrics, in his first three seasons he was known as much for his fouls, scowls and flapping jowls as his play.

Would the coaches hold his past behavior against him? It’s hard to know, but they are human.

If Cousins isn’t selected, he still could be added to the team when the league names replacements for injured players, but he’s earned the recognition that would come by making the team today.

What to watch I

NBA, All-Star reserves announced, 4 p.m., TNT: Will Cousins be selected for his first All-Star Game?

What to watch II

NBA, L.A. Clippers at Warriors, 7:30 p.m., TNT: It’s a showdown between the top teams in the Pacific Division.

Today’s poll

Who is the best center in the NBA?

• DeMarcus Cousins, Kings

• Marc Gasol, Grizzlies

• Roy Hibbert, Pacers

• Dwight Howard, Rockets

• Joakim Noah, Bulls

• Other

Vote above, or go to

Wednesday’s results

At this point in the NBA season, who is the MVP ?

• Kevin Durant: 70%

• Paul George: 12%

• LeBron James: 12%

• Other: 6%

Total votes: 138

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Read more articles by Tom Couzens

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