Kerr and Cousins appreciate other’s competitiveness
Steve Kerr charged to the official at halfcourt. He threw out his right arm. He yelled out a string of expletives.
The Warriors coach showed so much anger over Draymond Green getting called for a technical foul that assistant coach Mike Brown needed to restrain Kerr at halfcourt.
This episode happened in a forgettable Warriors’ overtime loss two seasons ago against the Sacramento Kings. The witnesses did not forget, though. The moment not only showed that the normally thoughtful and calm Kerr has a temper and competitive streak he can unleash at any moment. Then with the Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins saw another side of his future head coach.
“The ref kicks me out, and I turn around and I lock eyes with DeMarcus,” Kerr recalled with a laugh. “And he’s giving me a look.”
Nearly 2 years later, the Warriors acquired Cousins with their taxpayer midlevel exception worth $5.3 million. So on the first day of training camp, Kerr locked eyes with Cousins again.
“You could relate, right?” Kerr recalled say- ing, mindful that Cousins has collected 118 technicals through his eightyear NBA career with Sacramento (2010-2017) and New Orleans (201718).
“I could absolutely relate,” Cousins said, according to Kerr. After practice on Thursday, Cousins explained why.
“It just shows he’s out there battling for his players. His emotions are in the game, which is great. In the past, I’ve played for coaches that….” Cousins said before trailing off. “I won’t even speak on that point. It’s good to see his emotions are in the game.”
The Warriors may face plenty of questions on how the Warriors integrate Cousins after spending nearly the last year rehabbing his left Achilles tendon. Those will likely continue when Cousins possibly returns on Jan. 18 against the Clippers in Los Angeles. The early returns on Cousins’ dynamic with Kerr, however, appear positive.
One of the reasons: Kerr said he understands Cousins’ emotional outbursts. After all, Kerr collected seven technicals last season. He has coached another emotional player in Draymond Green, who has accumulated 67 technicals through seven NBA seasons and had 15 last season. Kevin Durant trailed shortly behind Green last season with 14 technicals.
“Demarcus knows I have a temper and a fuse, and so does Draymond,” Kerr said. “The three of us all have the ability to snap at times. That’s because we’re all competitive. We want to win. We want to succeed. We’ve got to figure out the best way to all coexist and channel all that energy and emotion in the right direction.”
Not only has Kerr developed an appreciation for Cousins’ emotional intensity. Kerr has had empathy for Cousins amid his nearly year-long effort with rehabbing his left Achilles tendon after injuring it on Jan. 26, 2018 with the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I have a lot of compassion for him just because of all he’s been through,” Kerr said. “When you think about when the injury happened, he was getting ready to sign a near-max contract. Whether it was with New Orleans or someone else, that’s a life-changing amount of money, not to mention the amount of gratification that comes from being one of the best players in the world and an All-Star right in his prime.”
Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, shown in December, will start immediately for coach Steve Kerr when the All-Star center makes his long-awaited Warriors debut in about a week following his lengthy recovery from surgery on a torn left Achilles tendon. Cousins has targeted a game Jan. 18 at the Clippers as his return date.