Isaiah Cousins exudes New York confidence.
Cousins, who is from Mount Vernon, N.Y., doesn’t have to say a lot, but when he does, he gets his point across.
And don’t let the quiet demeanor fool you. When Cousins steps on the court, he’s tenacious. That trait has been missing from many Kings guards in recent years.
So although the Kings’ second-round draft pick from Oklahoma might be reserved with the media, he plans to be bold on the court.
“We go in guerrilla mode, you feel me?” Cousins said. “Anybody can get it out there. It’s you and the other opponent and you’ve got to compete until that last horn rings.”
As a rookie point guard, Cousins faces a tough task in the Las Vegas summer league, where the Kings open Friday against the Toronto Raptors. Not only is he learning the NBA game, he’s picking up what his teammates are doing offensively and defensively as he works “to be the best vocal leader out there and basically run the team.”
Cousins said that process involves a lot of conversations with coach Dave Joerger. Those talks are more one-sided at this time.
“Right now, I’m doing a lot of listening because I’m trying to learn the system,” Cousins said. “Trying to learn what he’s looking for from my position.”
Cousins also must adapt his game to the skills of his new teammates.
“Right now, as much as he’s trying to learn his teammates, he’s trying to learn what I’m looking for because point guards are like the coaches out on the floor,” Joerger said. “And he’s trying to be very conscientious of what I’m looking for. So when we get on the same page, that will help him, too, and I think he’s going to be good for us.”
I think I’m doing pretty good just listening and talking to each and every one of the coaches to get a better understanding.
Joerger said the 6-foot-5 Cousins gives the Kings needed size on the perimeter. The coach also expressed confidence in Cousins’ offensive potential and ability to make open shots.
Cousins’ scoring average increased in each of his four years at Oklahoma. He averaged 12.7 points as a senior and shot better than 40 percent on three-pointers in his last three seasons.
We go in guerrilla mode, you feel me? Anybody can get it out there. It’s you and the other opponent and you’ve got to compete until that last horn rings.
Cousins will have a head start on Joerger’s philosophies entering training camp. That will be important if the Kings do not add another veteran point guard behind starter Darren Collison. Additionally, Collison’s domestic violence case could lead to a league-mandated suspension pending the outcome. If Collison misses games, Cousins might be thrust into the rotation early.
Regardless, Cousins continues to listen and learn.
“I think I’m doing pretty good just listening and talking to each and every one of the coaches to get a better understanding,” he said.
The basketball court remains Cousins’ comfort zone.
“And walking around New York,” he added, “I feel comfortable out there, too.”