Breaking down 'Boogie'

How the enigmatic DeMarcus Cousins has turned it around this season

Updated: January 14, 2014, 11:49 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Almost every NBA GM and scout had the same phrase written down in his scouting report of DeMarcus Cousins as he entered the 2010 NBA draft. All I heard was various endings to this phrase: "If he ever figures it out …"

"He'll lead his team in points and rebounds."
"He'll be an All-Star."
"He could be the best player on a contending team."
"He might win some MVP trophies."

During his rookie season, I broke down his game, compared him to Dwight Howard and wrote: "By 2013, seeing [Howard and Cousins] in the circle as starting centers in the All-Star Game would not surprise me at all."

Indeed, the question of whether Cousins will figure out his game has largely been answered. The Cousins we see today is the guy who would have gone No. 1 overall, perhaps No. 2 at worst, had he played more like he is now -- from the neck up. The man we see today is special and one of the most devastating players in the world. It is a stark contrast from the petulant, underperforming player from the past two seasons.

What changed between last season and this season? How is he doing it?