Blog Entry

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:45 pm
DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall have huge debuts in preseason to set the tone for the ROY chase this season. And it may not be close.
Posted by Matt Moore

Say what you want about John Calipari, he finds himself some NBA quality talent. After producing the previous two Rookie of the Year award winners in Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, Calipari may end up having more than one horse in the race this season. Both John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were highly touted coming out of college, but through Summer League and their first preseason games, we're already getting a sense that it may be these two, and then everyone else for the top rook trophy.


John Wall in his first game on an NBA floor? He was remarkable. Better than expected. Preseason? Sure. But you can't argue with the kind of production he provided, and not just the numbers that pop out to you. 21 points, 9 assists, 4 steals? Great. But he shot 42% from the field, and more importantly was 9-11 from the line.  Most crucial was just two turnovers despite having the ball that much. That's absolutely huge. That numbers will rise with better competition, but just to show the ability is huge for the Wizards as they look for him to become the future of the franchise.

But don't take my words for it. Here's what Wizards blog Bullets Forever had to say on the matter:

"It's possible I underestimated the effect of John coming at you in transition will have on his stats and the team's performance.  Dallas isn't exactly the fastest team in the world, but their only chance at stopping Wall coming at full speed was to foul him. 

Wall's half-court execution does still need work, especially his pick and roll offense.  He's still learning how to attack the pick in such a way where he actually uses it well.  But on the bright side, he didn't turn the ball over much and he realized that Dallas was often playing him to pass."

That's crucial. For some reason, beyond my comprehension, there's been this feeling that Wall's a natural scorer who will have to work to set other players up. If you watched him in college at Kentucky? You know that's not true. Wall more than any other player showed a skillset that fit passing in the NBA best. His drive and kick to the baseline jumper man was automatic, except it was college and no one hits that shot in college (except for Patrick Patterson). He establishes chemistry with a big man (JaVale McGee in Washington off the bat) and works to see him in transition. He's lightning quick but sees the floor at a slower pace.

Wall has the potential to distribute with this team, the question was if he'd be allowed to among veterans who like the ball. If the preseason holds any value whatsoever, that doesn't seem like a problem. Even Gilbert Arenas in his postgame comments made it clear . This is Wall's team. And if that's the case, that Rookie of the Year award is going to be within reach from the get go.

Run DMC in Full Effect

DeMarcus Cousins slipped all the way to the Kings at number five, and honestly, there was absolutely no reason for it. His character issues are all built around on-court blowups which aren't unheard of for a kid his age, and he hasn't been in off-court trouble since his sophomore year of high school. In the meantime, he was arguably the MVP of Calipari's Kentucky team.

Sacramento knows what they have in the combustible big and have marketed him all summer. Then in his preseason debut last night, he showed what he's capable of. 16 points, 16 rebounds, are you freaking kidding me? Check out the two highlights in the first starting at 37 seconds in here . That's what he's bringing, along with what was a good looking jumper.

Cousins has so much instinctive ability at the basket, and for a team looking to run this season, he focused last night on outlet passes. That's a terrifying concept for opponents, if he's able to finish in the post and start the break while bringing in rebounds. His wide body and instincts are going to bring those rebounds in, and preseason or no, 16 boards is a heck of a lot. Cousins already looks like the steal of the draft, and his physical assets put him a leg above Blake Griffin, even before the injury, though Griffin's upside is obviously huge.

Here's what Sactown Royalty had to say on the matter of "Boogie":

On defense, he was surprisingly active, contesting shots, denying his man position.  He still needs a bit of work, but I think he could be a quality defensive presence someday, especially with his knack for drawing charges.  Another nice thing about DeMarcus is that he eats rebounds and craps nice outlet passes.  Many a fastbreak was started last night after DMC corralled the board and threw it out to Tyreke or Beno.  His solid performance was not without flaws however, as he made a few silly mistakes with the ball (including once trying to run the ball up the floor himself after a rebound, leading to a quick turnover) which led to five turnovers, all but one of them because of careless mistakes that can be fixed with experience. 

Cousins' learning curve could be high as well, depending on how he and the coaching staff mesh, which of course gets back to the attitude questions. But with that kind of opening performance and the minutes he's getting from the start, it's clear Sacramento knows what they have with him. Alongside Tyreke Evans, Cousins has a great shot of being able to compete for the trophy based on opportunity and instincts.

Since: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:18 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

Hey, kiss my big blue ass!!! 

By the way, your crappy blog (which is proof any nut can start a blog) will probably receive a call from J. Calipari's lawyer soon.  You probably are also a "birther" and a 9-11 conspiracy buff too, right?  Here's a tip, there was a shooter on the grassy knoll also. 

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:31 am
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Since: Apr 5, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2010 9:45 am

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

The baloney about Cousins having a bad attitude is pure media hype.  Dick Vitale labelled him a problem before he ever stepped on the floor and he then set about to create the image.  The fact is Cousins put up with far more than any player I've ever seen and he never got out of control.  He got punched in the family jewels by a Tenn. player and he never did anything except get mad.  Where is the news coverage of that?  How many of you could take getting hit where it hurts deliberately and not respond physically?  Louisville stated they were going to get him ejected.  They didn't.  Other teams said the same thing.  None of them did.  He took more than any player I've seen in my 45 years of watching college basketball.  He is NOT an attitude problem.

Since: Jun 16, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 7:46 am

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

This is just the preseason, where I call the "experimental stage". This part of the year, you try different strategy, try out the new players recruited, and bench, know who to subsitute who during the game, etc. If John Wall and Cousins wants playing time, then yes, they are showing that they want to be a starter. Impression means a lot in the NBA, especially the rookie year. Otherwise, you may get the early exit. As of now, they are showing what they are capable of doing and soon, the regular season will start (around the end of this month). We'll see if they are ready by then.

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2010 11:03 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

You're a fraud. Duke recruits top players and how many of them flop in the NBA? Same with UNC and KU. Nobody's players have had more success than Calipari's. Have you ever watched Calipari work with players? I have and he's fantastic. 
People are so biased against him they refuse to give him the credit he deserves. Every player, besides Wall who was already projected #1, improved their draft stock while at UK. The media's and in turn the masses persecution of Calipari with little to no logic or evidence continues to amaze. It's sad, but envy and the general tendency to want to drag others down is commonplace in America.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:33 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

Cousins is the real deal, and the rest of the world will soon find out.  All this talk about him being an out of shape thug/headcase/punk is pure BS.

Since: Jun 11, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2010 7:45 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

Obsess much? I didn't know this article was about Calipari. You dream about him, don't you?

Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2010 4:07 pm
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Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:22 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

I think Wall has star potential immediately, though he obviously needs a lot of work on his jump shot.  Cousins, on the other hand looks like another one of those guys who has to learn to keep himself in shape before reaching his potential and will be the classic quick-start, mid-season fade in his rookie year. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:17 pm

Kentucky duo setting the early pace for rookies

Seriously?  Moore uses a Wizards blog as "evidence" that Wall will be successful?  Could that be any less credible?

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