New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins, already one of the most dominant centers in the league, has added new dimensions to his game.
Rajon Rondo, who was expected to start at point guard for the Pelicans, is out with an injury. As such, Cousins and combo guard Jrue Holiday have found roles as lead distributors for the team. Though still early, Cousins is currently averaging more assists per game than star point guards like Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.
According to NBA.com, his 26.1 percent assist rate is higher than all starting big men in the league. It’s nearly identical to the 26.2 percent assist rate that he recorded last season, which was the second-best among centers who were starters.
During his first five years in the league, his three-point attempt rate was never more than 2.1 percent. Since he started playing for New Orleans, however, that rate is now at 32.2 percent.
This season, he is shooting a whopping 7.3 three-point attempts per game. That’s more than big men known for an outside shot such as Kevin Love (5.6), Kristaps Porzingis (5.5) as well as sharpshooters like Carmelo Anthony (7.0) and Kevin Durant (6.4).
He is currently the second-most efficient player in the league, trailing only early MVP-favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo. If he keeps up his stellar play as an assist-machine and three-point shooter, expect his name mentioned in conversations as the league’s Most Valuable Player as well.