Blog Entry

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:35 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 9:36 am

The most intriguing debate heading into Thursday's NBA Draft is the debate about DeMarcus Cousins.

Will he be the Rookie of the Year?

Will he be a headache?

Truth is, it won't surprise me if Cousins turns out to be both. The guy is an awesome talent and uneven personality whose reputation is well earned. My guess is that he'll put 18 points and 17 rebounds on somebody in the first month of his NBA career and cause general managers who passed on him to cry, then two months later be caught on camera arguing with an assistant coach, at which point those same general managers will be thankful they passed.

And that's probably how Cousins' career will go.

Lots of nice moments surrounded by lots of shake-your-head moments.

So the question the Nets (picking third) and Timberwolves (picking fourth) must ask themselves is whether they'd rather have Cousins and his issues, or Derrick Favors, Wes Johnson or Greg Monroe, because it's not close in terms of talent. On talent alone, Cousins should probably be the second pick (behind only Kentucky teammate John Wall) and perhaps the No. 1 overall pick. As much as I've criticized Cousins' demeanor, I've never questioned his ability. He's big and strong and skilled, and he was the most dominant force in college basketball last season. I love his potential, but I'm scared he'll never be able to get out of his own way. That's the dilemma. That's always been the dilemma.

And yet I still wonder how much it should matter.

I still really do wonder if we care too much about character.

I mean, I just watched the Lakers win an NBA title with a player who has been accused of rape (Kobe Bryant), a player who ran into the stands to punch a fan (Ron Artest), a player who once demanded a trade from the team that drafted him (Pau Gasol), and a player who married the worst Kardashian just weeks after meeting her (Lamar Odom). Again, those are our world champions. Meantime, the Indianapolis Police Department believes Zach Randolph could be a drug kingpin, and he's an All-Star. Dwyane Wade has gone through some kind of crazy divorce and may or may not be a terrible father, but he's a pretty successful basketball player. Carmelo Anthony once told criminals not to snitch on other criminals, but I'd take him on my team. Tyreke Evans was the driver of a car that carried a murderer away to safety, but he was also the Rookie of the Year.

I could do this forever, but you get the point.

Character matters, sure.

But nothing matters in the NBA more than talent.

You don't win or lose with good people and bad people.

You win or lose with talented players and untalented players.

So I'd take Wall ahead of Cousins and I might -- let me stress might -- take Turner and Favors ahead of him, too. But there's absolutely no way Cousins -- a 6-foot-11, 280-pound forward who averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game as a freshman -- should go any lower than fourth in this draft, absolutely no way Cousins should be selected behind Johnson, Monroe or anybody else not named Wall, Turner or Favors because you don't pass on a potential All-Star unless you're getting a potential All-Star in his place.

There are only four prospects in this draft who project as potential All-Stars.
  • John Wall
  • Evan Turner
  • Derrick Favors
  • DeMarcus Cousins
If they're not the first four picks Thursday night, somebody messed up.

Since: Mar 29, 2010
Posted on: June 24, 2010 2:37 pm

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Sounds like we have a typical kentucky fan on our hands....Inbred and ignorant!

Since: May 5, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2010 1:46 pm

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Is it just me or does Cousins remind anyone else of Derrick Coleman?  Cousins will do well in the NBA.  Having said that, if I had the number 4 pick and Turner and Favors were gone, I would try to trade down.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2010 1:10 pm

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Who gives a horse's ass about Univ of Kentucky?  They're not college basketball, just a factory with a few illegals.

Since: Jun 22, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2010 12:10 pm

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

I know the guy is supposed to be a malcontent, but does anyone else think he's going out of his way to look like Steve Urkel?  Is that supposed to improve his stock on draft day?  I'm imagining him with the nasaly voice saying "Did I do that"?

Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2010 10:54 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Come on!  Give this kid a break.  Cousins will be an outstanding player in the NBA, and he was targeted his entire time at UK by other players/coaches.  You sportwriters need to get a grip and admit he is an outstanding player.   It is very possible that he could go as high as # 3 in the draft.  Avery Johnson the coach  from the Nets stress defense and rebounding...He will be in shape and very possible could be in the running for ROY award... Prove the all wrong Big Cuz....

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: June 24, 2010 10:05 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Why would anyone at Kentucky care what goes on at KU?

Since: Feb 27, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2010 9:50 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

I agree for the most part that you win in the NBA with talent and not character. However, there is a point when character becomes extremely important. If you are a complete knuckle head, then it does not matter how talented he is he will mess up his career and his team's chances of winning. A player like Jr. Isiah Rider comes to mind from the 90s. A player like Michael Ray Richardson comes to mind from the 80s. If your best player is a knuckle head that continues to get in trouble, then the coaching staff and front office are faced with a HUGE problem. If you make an example out of the best player, then the other players on the team understand you mean business. However, if you let him away with follishness on a regular basis, then you could create serious chemistry problems in that locker room unless you have some other strong, positive locker room guys.

In short, its a balancing act. I saw WAyne embry, former GM of the Cavs, consistently decide that character was the most important criteria when drafting players. This is of course stupid. It's why in 95 the Cavs drafted Bob sura in the first round instead of Michael Finley. It's why the Cavs in 99 drafted a scrub like Trajon Langdon over Ron Artest and Corey Magette.

I think every now and then a team, regardless of the sport, has to take a chance on a talented knuckle head, but only if you know you have compenents in place to control that knuckle head. Think the Patriots bringing in Randy Moss versus the Bengals drafting guys whose were destined for a police blotter rather than the Pro Bowl.

Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2010 9:27 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins is well worth top-five risk in NBA Draft

With the first pick in the 2010 NBA draft, the Washington Wizards will select -- yawn -- John Wall from the University of Kentucky. It's the surest thing in Washington since Stephen Strasburg.

With the second pick, the Philadelphia 76ers should select Wall's UK teammate, DeMarcus Cousins. If Philly balks, New Jersey should fast break to the podium to take Cousins with pick three.

If the Nets and Sixers pass (and they probably will), the Minnesota Timberwolves will have their chance at the big man they have lacked since Kevin Garnett left town. But the Timberwolves are a timid franchise -- and Cousins declined to fly to Minneapolis for a workout.

So Sacramento, picking fifth, could get the bargain of the draft. If Cousins lasts beyond five picks, the five teams that pass on him deserve to miss the playoffs another three or four seasons.

"If you're looking for a guy who could step in and give you 10 boards a game starting next season, Cousins can do that," Jim Clibanoff said. "He could step in and start for a lot of NBA teams right now."

Clibanoff is an independent basketball scout who lives in Philadelphia. He runs, a scouting service available only to NBA teams.

He has seen the videotape of Cousins' outrageous behavior in the opening minute of UK's game with Louisville. He has heard the stories that Cousins and UK coach John Calipari sometimes communicated with healthy screams. He knows that Cousins' body fat registered in the danger zone -- 16.4percent -- at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Clibanoff has heard the behavioral comparisons to Rasheed Wallace (technical fouls) and Melvin Turpin (overweight). He likens Cousins to Derrick Coleman, a 15-year pro. Coleman was often immature, but not as immature as Wallace. He sometimes was overweight, but not as overweight as Turpin.

Coleman also averaged 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds over his NBA career.

"Cousins is such a polarizing player, probably the most polarizing player in the draft," Clibanoff said. "But he's easily one of the five best players in the draft.

"If he's available when you're drafting, you have to calculate what the chances are that the kid goes off the deep end and what the chances are that you believe he can become a 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) guy. Then you make your decision.

"There will surely be a few deep-end moments. You'd better find Cousins a dietician and a mentor in the locker room. But your reward will be a guy who gives you the 20 and 10.

I'd draft Cousins. There were multiple games last season when he, not Wall, was Kentucky's best player. I haven't seen many guys with his skill set, not at 6feet11 and nearly 290 pounds.

Hands like Jerry Rice. First step of a guard. Knows how to get to the rim -- and keep the other guy from getting there.

And unlike Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech and Greg Monroe of Georgetown, the other top big men in this draft, Cousins doesn't linger on the perimeter and occasionally audition as a point guard. He's fine with getting physical.

In fact, sometimes he gets carried away. Pro players won't tolerate the junk that Cousins tried with Jared Swopshire during the Louisville game.

But Cousins' record does not show criminal behavior (trust me, NBA teams have hired private investigators to check). It shows immature and reckless behavior.

DeMarcus Cousins' record also shows he has the ability to be the best player in this draft.


Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:07 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

I hate Pau Gasol as much as the next guy by demanding a trade isn't ridiculous. Kobe was not convicted so why mention the rape? And Odom....damn he's the real winner. Look at the disfunctional team that almost won the finals instead. Ray Allen the OCD freak,KG the biggest trash talker in the league, Paul Pierce the cocky flopper, Rajon Rondo the stubborn "uncoachable" jerk, and Rasheed Wallace... enough said. Too bad C's don't have an early pick Cousins would fit right in!

Since: Jul 16, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2010 6:44 am

Questionable Cousins still must go in top four

Listen, you lame-brained piece of fecal matter.  For the last time, it's UK!  As in, "University of Kentucky".  KU refers to "Kansas University".  Please, before you post anything else, go back and complete 3rd grade.

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