It was a press conference designed to talk up the subject of Team USA men’s basketball. NBA stars circled around a room ready to take questions from reporters all over the globe. If anything, it’s a time to discuss the highlights of what is right with the NBA and focus on team unity, goals and national pride coming up to the 2012 London Olympics. Instead, Jerry Colangelo unfortunately did not get the memo.
Colangelo is the architect of Team USA basketball, the man in charge of putting in members for the Oklahoma City Thunder as 25 percent of the United States’ roster. He chose James Harden over Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala over Eric Gordon. In the end, he was going to do some explaining about his choices and there was no way around that.
But there was a way out of his remarks about Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins. That’s because he didn’t even have to talk about him in the first place.
While statistically, Cousins might have made sense, he was not included among the finalists for the roster. Instead of saying something polite when asked about Cousins (i.e. "We only comment on players who are here."), Colangelo used it as a chance to scold a player for no reason publicly.
"He needs to mature as a person (and) as a player if he’s going to have an outstanding NBA career," Colangelo said. "Before there’s discussion about him being part of our program, he has a lot of building to do. … He has a lot of growing up to do."
There’s just no reason for Colangelo to throw a kid under the bus to motivate him at this point. The decisions have been made. Cousins didn’t make the cut or even the alternates. That should be telling enough without having to dismiss him to reporters as the only player discussed not on the team or alternates.
Here’s hoping Cousins takes Colangelo’s words and turns them into something positive for motivation rather than feeling blindsided by inappropriate criticism (although it’s understandable if he feels the latter). Cousins and the Kings are heading to better places this year and beyond, especially after adding Thomas Robinson. He does not need Colangelo’s lack of etiquette to help him.