DeMarcus Cousins might be the exception to the old adage that "leaders are born, not made."

As he enters his fourth NBA season, the enigmatic 23-year-old center of the Sacramento Kings is ready to take the reins and lead his team into a new era, leaving behind a past littered with frustration, losing and uncertainty.

"Honestly, I feel like I've wasted time," Cousins told News10 during a lengthy sit-down interview just before the first game of the 2013-14 NBA season. "I mean, I hate the fact that it took everything that we went through to get to this, but I guess you can say, it makes it that much better."

Since his first NBA season, the Kings haven't won more than 28 games in a season. Overall, the franchise has suffered seven straight losing seasons.

The losing, which Cousins takes about as hard as any player in the league, coupled with the years of uncertainty about the franchise possibly relocating, took a toll on him and his team.

The Kings, previously owned by the Maloof family, agreed to a deal with a Seattle based ownership group last season. That group planned on moving the Kings away from Sacramento to the Emerald City.

But long before that, rumors of the team relocating to Anaheim, Virgina Beach and even Las Vegas, plagued the troubled franchise.

"It was tough to deal with it before because we really didn't know where we were going," Cousins said. "It was just another day at work. We didn't know what was ahead."

Cousins agreed with one player's assessment of last season, who said it felt like the Kings weren't really in the NBA.

"That is so true, we felt like an AAU team," Cousins said. AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union, which is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer sports organizations in the United States.

The losing, uncertain future and Cousins being one of the more emotional players in the league were a perfect storm for mistakes that added fuel to the perceived notion of him being a bad teammate.

Cousins is quick to dismiss that notion, and so do his teammates, but that doesn't mean he makes excuses for his actions. He is the first to admit that some of his actions can't continue.

"I'm always going to be myself, I'm always going to be the same player - just less mistakes," Cousins said. "Not so much the technicals, because that's part of the game, but getting ejected and letting my team down, those things I can't continue to do.