Posted by: Kingsguru21 | May 21, 2010

Paging Al-Farouq Aminu, DeMarcus Cousins and Ekpe Udoh: Will you please enter the ring to fight for the 5th pick please?

Okay, I know. The title is over the top. But, let me point this out: It’s meant to be. The whole idea of an over the top title is getting attention. Won’t this at least get some negative attention calling me a numbnuts? (One would hope, but you never know. Sometimes my upside in this department is pretty poor. Guess I’m not a top 5 pick in the annual numbnuts draft, eh?)

So here’s the deal. Aminu, Cousins and Udoh are the 3 players the Kings are likely to decide after looking at some of the others (Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis, Donatas Motiejunas (maybe), Greg Monroe and Wesley Johnson) that they could believe would be worth something.

I’ve already really discussed Cousins in the well forlorn piece Cousins vs Favors. I really don’t have anything to add to that, other than say that Cousins shot selection, mobility and the ability to play alongside Landry/Thompson/Hawes effectively is a concern. Is he talented? No doubt. But at some point a guy has to produce playing alongside the teammates he’s got. If Cousins can’t do that, is he worth the 5th pick?

Basically my issue’s with Cousins go as follows:

* Conditioning and the ability to keep the pounds off: Look, I know all the rumors about Cousins having recently lost weight. But Greg Oden did the same thing before the combine in 2007 and it matters not at all today. Having a good combine matters a lot less than actually simply staying in condition throughout the seasons and years to come.

* Shot selection: This is a guy who couldn’t be stopped down low against many opponents, but managed to shoot 6 three balls over the course of the season. This is sort of the equivalent of the guy you saw at 7-11 using Shaq in NBA Jam and making him shoot 3 pointers. It’s also why Cousins wasn’t more efficient.

* Commitment to defense: Quite often guys who score don’t have the same level of commitment to defense because they don’t have to. While there is a premium to be able to create your own shot and score, I don’t know if I see it being something that I think is the Kings biggest area of concern.

* Will Cousins size matter in playing defense? Less in the NBA than anywhere else. That’s the only answer I got. Dwight Howard is athletic and tall/long. He’s also active and willing to play defense too. Those are 2 different things, and sometimes players don’t have interest in working on the rough edges of their game.

* How coachable is Cousins? This is a question I can’t answer, and noone can say for sure. His maturity will surely be an issue, and how he responds to being in the NBA and playing in a 82 game schedule is significant. There will be teams that will be scared away from Cousins and these issue’s, I can promise you that. Question is how many of them will be scared away? Only time will tell.

******

A couple days ago, TZ had some good points about Udoh and his deficiencies. All of these things concern me about Udoh a great deal actually. And, it’s why if you read my Cousins vs Favors piece, I mentioned Aldrich being more enticing than Udoh. Every reason TZ stated is exactly the reason.

There are things, though, that I didn’t know about Baylor. One, is that Baylor played a zone and that hurts rebounding rates regardless. Look at Syracuses’ rates. The difference is that Syracuse is significantly better at rebounding than Baylor was at a team. Also, Wesley Johnson was significantly better rebounding that Udoh was. That concerns me, too.

However, is there a chance that Udoh could be better rebounding in the pro’s? I don’t know. Udoh’s inefficient offense last season at Baylor concerns me too.

There is one play towards the end of the clip where Udoh missed the rebound. Why? He just simply isn’t a great rebounder. Rebounding out of his area is not something he will do well at the next level at all. (Look at the 3:15 mark.) At Baylor he gets rebounds cuz of his size. To get boards for the Kings Udoh will have to go after the ball. I’m not convinced he does this enough to warrant his selection at 5. (And while I haven’t done a lot of research on Udoh, the numbers, what I’ve seen, and everything else make me go: Whoa!)

I recognize this is a small sample size, but I’m sure I could find another 100 players like this during the Baylor season. Udoh went after the shot block, then stood flat footed watching the rebound.

Do you want the black Spencer Hawes on the Kings? I kid I kid I swear. But that’s exactly how Spencer loses NBA rebounds. The same exact way. And Jason Thompson is no stud rebounding at the NBA level either.

Udoh is an excellent passer from the many clips I’ve seen, is probably an excellent teammate (it certainly appears that way), and has some shot blocking/defensive/offensive skills. But rebounding doesn’t seem to be a major part of his game. The Kings absolutely need defensive rebounding. To me Udoh doesn’t provide enough there.

******

Onto Al-Farouq Aminu

Another clip of Aminu as well. (H/T Aykis.)

Aminu is a young, skinny, and hyper-athletic F from Georgia. His rebounding improved from the previous season, and is capable of finishing around the basket using his athleticism. Aminu is also noted for his defense in a man to man setting as well. (Similar to Favors.)

Like most things, though, there is bad here. Aminu is not even close to being as efficient as Wesley Johnson was at Syracuse this season. Aminu is not particularly strong or developed (he weights as much as Tyreke Evans does give or take a few lbs), and has had a character issue in his past. (It was shooting a BB gun at a lady’s car. Stupid kid shit basically.)

The thing about Aminu is that he is young, needing some skill and bulk on his frame. He’s certainly rough offensively (although the workouts could help him some there) and his defense/rebounding is a plus.

******

The question here is what do the Kings do with each player, and how they fit that player in a rotation from this point. (This is part of my upcoming discussion points. Don’t fret if you’ve thought you missed it by not reading through the wall of words.)

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