Posted by: Kingsguru21 | June 23, 2010

Discussing the 5th pick (and DMC while I’m at it)

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been lazy and other things and really not feeling up to it in all reality. But, I suppose you gotta do shit you don’t want to. Right?

The general consensus is that the Kings will have their shot at DeMarcus Cousins. Or at least that’s how the tarot cards are looking at this point.

Most have figured out that Washington will take John Wall with the 1st pick. (That’s about the only thing I’ve seen said with any certainty.) The question is what will happen after that? And, that’s where the guessing games start.

Philly seemed just a few days ago to have settled on Evan Turner, but that seems less certain. (Or, perhaps not.) It’s always possible that DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors or Wesley Johnson could be picked by the Sixers. However, nobody seems to saying differently at this point that I can find.

The Nets seemingly have Cousins, Favors & Johnson in their discussion. As do the Wolves. So what does this mean for the Kings?

Right now Chad Ford & Jonathan Givony have the Kings taking DeMarcus Cousins. In order, Wall, Turner, Johnson and Favors are being taken 1-4 on both mock drafts.

Chad Ford did have this to say about the Kings decision on Truehoop:

The Kings have not made up their mind at No. 5, but a well positioned league source is telling me that they continue to lean toward DeMarcus Cousins with the pick. While there isn’t totally unanimity in the Kings’ war room, that’s where the consensus lies. Greg Monroe is still in the conversation and a trade isn’t out of the realm of possibility but if the draft were to happen tonight, Cousins would be the man.

Now, again, I think the Kings draft board probably has Wall, Cousins, Turner, Favors and Johnson in 1-5. I would have to believe that’s the case in terms of the big board they have overall. However, given the need for a power player (as intimated by Jerry Reynolds in a few interviews he’s done) and the fact Cousins is definitely that offensively, I think the Kings will end up taking Cousins IF he is on the board at 5.

My opinions on Cousins are that I wouldn’t want him if I had to pick a top 15 board. However, given the Kings needs and the fact they’re at the 5th pick gives them less options than if they were at the 3rd pick (for instance).

******

The only question I have at this point is why didn’t the Kings look at Al-Farouq Aminu once? Nothing against them, but is ignoring Aminu because you have Omri Casspi and Donte Greene wise? Part of what makes Aminu unique is that he isn’t a 1 position guy, but more of a combo F who can do a bit of everything.

Other than that, I think the Kings have spent a ton of time trying to upgrade their front-court, and you don’t have to look further than the bulk of players who have been brought in: Most of them are big’s and the one’s that aren’t are G’s. Few wings have been brought in over the workout process and I find that unusual.

So I’m forced to conclude that right now the Kings draft board (the realistic one) has Cousins 1 & Monroe 2. I doubt it’s flipped because Cousins is more of a power player than Monroe is (like no duh) and is a better rebounder at this point. It might be a flip of the coin as to who actually plays better defense. It is clear that Monroe has a higher BBall IQ, but not by the amount people think it is. Cousins, other than being foul prone, had great per-minute stats at Kentucky. It is one reason so many want him I think.

My biggest problem with people who counter my Cousins distaste is they use Favors flaws as a reasoning to pick Cousins. (Which, should not be the case.) Now, not everyone does that or uses that argument to argue against another player. I do think, though, that people who are fond of Cousins may not know what they are really bargaining for.

Cousins has plenty of flaws that are easily fixable (like conditioning), and his shot selection. But, players with shaky shot selection at the beginning of their careers tend to have it throughout their entire NBA career. As much as I would like Cousins (or whomever the Kings pick) with that 5th pick succeed playing for the Kings, there are flaws here with Cousins. More than anything, rather than promote Cousins as the savior, I’d rather see him do it for a 10 year career. I want the kid to succeed, and I’d like to see him in the Kings uni as well doing it. The Kings have always sort of dealt with unique personalities well and Cousins is almost certainly that. In many ways the Geoff Petrie organization that the Kings currently have is a perfect match with Cousins.

Quite honestly, I don’t know what to expect with Cousins. I do believe he could have a very up & down rookie season for whomever he’s taken by simply because the level of competition may be a bit much for Cousins initially. I expect him to play well at times next year because he will know all eyes will be on him for awhile. But, after awhile, and if there are no blowups, some of the negative press will go away. And that’s my question: Can Cousins evolve as a player? Because that’s what the great one’s do. They take their natural skills (of which, on the offensive side, Cousins has many) and improve upon them. Does he take on a natural desire to get better and improve on his game? These are just some of the unknown’s with Cousins that are out there.

Another issue is how DMC gets along with his teammates, and I don’t mean Tyreke Evans. I think they will be fine as it were. I mean more how DMC gets along with his frontcourt teammates in particular and how he works together with them. I’ve watched Al Jefferson for some years now, and it seems to me every time he gets the ball he takes forever with it. I find this unfortunate because Jefferson has been on mostly bad teams with a few mediocre teams in his Boston years. I wonder if Cousins is a similar player, and even if his “red flags” are overblown (and they very well may be), what I’m curious about is how you can win with a player who needs certain things to be successful. Al Jefferson needs to play in a certain kind of offense and needs to have plenty of time and room to operate. That makes the Wolves offense worse, and I hope DeMarcus Cousins isn’t that type of player. That’s been one of my biggest fears of Cousins all along is that can he operate effectively in multiple type of offense’s?

My point here is simple: Having an offensive post game is nice, and I like having a player who you can drop the ball into offensively, the question is how much offensive versatility DeMarcus Cousins has? Because, in my opinion, one of the things Cousins can improve on are the amount of versatility he has. Because of his weight, and because of his style of play, I’m very skeptical he can change.

******

Having said all that, right now I understand if the Kings took Cousins. In fact, I would be hard pressed to argue there is a better player talent wise on the board. Cousins is a lot of things, but a criminal isn’t one of them. Nor is Cousins dumb or lacking commitment at this point.

What I question is the likelihood of Cousins working out with any NBA team due to his maturity. Is it possible he matures? Yes, sure it is. It’s also possible Cousins doesn’t mature or something else rocks his NBA career for some unknown reason. Are some of Cousins problems self inflicted or are they a product of the environment he was in Birmingham and Mobile Alabama? (It’s worth noting that Eric Bledsoe, the other freshman G out of Kentucky that will likely end up being a 1st round pick tomorrow, is also from Birmingham.)

What I know is that Cousins is likely to have a difficult relationship with the media because he doesn’t take the easy way out Derrick Favors does. (Which, makes some question Favors intelligence. I think it’s smart to take the hits myself. If for nothing else, it shows you’re interested in improving. Also, for those who think Favors won’t go to Minnesota whatsoever, it’s now reported that the blowup between David Kahn and Favors agent Wallace Prather was a “misunderstanding”.)

Perception vs Reality on Outside the Lines on ESPN. IF you haven’t seen the footage, you should.

So here’s the deal with DeMarcus Cousins as I see it. He’s a fighter and will be combative. Just check out this tweet in response to Givony saying this:

Draft express needs to get there facts straight ….ME nor ANYBODY close to me made those comments ..

This is what Givony said:

A source close to Cousins indicates his preference is to land in Detroit. Feeling is mutual. Not a fan of Sac apparently.

Now, I’m not saying Cousins overreacted because he didn’t. But this is the kinda crap that will always be coming Cousins way, and with all due respect to those who think that the media feeds into it, guess what? The media totally does! It’s their job to get stories, and a hothead like Cousins is a perfect target for them. If he learns to embrace his image (sort of like Kobe Bryant) for what he is, he’ll make it through the NBA career. But if he ends up trying to take on every person who affronts him, and this is a problem I see being a major one for Cousins (unfortunately), especially in the media, his career will be adversely affected. Cousins is lucky, if he comes to Sac, that he would not be going to a combative media town, but on the other hand there are the other 29 NBA cities that have far more combative media he’ll have to deal with. Any small incident? BOOM! It will suddenly become the detonation of World War 3 as far as Adrian Wojnarowski and his “Jersey sources” are concerned. Chad Ford will wag his hawaiian shirt saying “I told you so”. Even Ailene Voisin will write one of her dumb hindsight articles that she’s become famous for. And that’s if Cousins succeeds.

Here’s the question I got: Can Cousin overcome it? With all the concerns about his body, his attitude, and his mental makeup, this makes him unreliable. Can Cousins overcome it? Of course he CAN. Because of this, I’ll tentatively suggest this when it comes to Cousins: Think of him and think of Rasheed Wallace. And not just the tech’s, or on court productivity. Wallace has always had controversy follow him from his time in Portland and since. It’s never going away even though ‘Sheed has never been arrested for anything. He doesn’t put himself in the headlines. Unlike Cousins, though, Rasheed Wallace has never minded his differences. He doesn’t do endorsements. He doesn’t seem to care about what people think. If you’re going to be outside the box as Cousins quite often is, you had better handle yourself with a bit of air and defiance that what others say doesn’t really matter. That isn’t Cousins or his personality. He ultimately wants to please people, and these same people he wishes to please want to see him fail. Why? I have no clue. Right now, though, it seems a lot of NBA executives are more concerned with Cousins on the court than they are off the court. Numerous articles from the Detroit Free Press newspaper have targeted Cousins as being the Pistons #1 wish at the 7th pick.

You know what Calipari said on the Outside the Lines piece? “DeMarcus Cousins is the most unfinished product in the draft.” Do you have an idea of what that means? That could mean any number of things although I’m sure many will interpret as Cousins has a lot of room to grow as a player. While that’s certainly true, that’s not the only issue.

What I know about Cousins, and what I think I know about Cousins, quite often feels like a mirage. Does it say something that he only played 24 MPG while at Kentucky due to conditioning, foul trouble and other issue’s? Does the sheer numbers illustrate greatness? Does the criticism drive DMC, or does it keep him from tapping all of his potential?

For one team tomorrow, and it’ll probably be the Kings, the answer to those questions will be one’s not easily or simply answered regarding DeMarcus Cousins. Which is, unfortunate, but those nagging questions will pop up until they no longer actually present an issue.

******

In case you’re wondering, why I spent 2500 words on why DMC scares me, than you’re probably picking up there isn’t the question of these concerns with Greg Monroe. The questions are more about his demeanor (not a big issue IMO), and can he do enough things to make his high Basketball IQ and skills valuable. Monroe is a player some teams covet, and others don’t nearly as much. The Kings like Monroe, and I get the feeling that unless Favors or Cousins is available at that 5th pick, the Kings will select Monroe. (This may be true even if Wesley Johnson is on the board.)

Unlike Cousins (and I didn’t really discuss this much so I’ll say it more here), I think Monroe could be a reasonable fit with Dalembert, JT & Landry simply because of all the various skills and abilities Monroe possesses. Monroe is a talented player, and issues aside about his leaping ability (which is never going to be great), and the Kings should consider him based on the merits of his talent.

The good news is that I don’t think the Kings will be too scared of Cousins and view Monroe as the “safe” choice. (It will end up being reported that way though regardless of whatever the real truth that gets reported locally in Sacramento.) The Kings are probably more likely to take Monroe if they see him as the best basketball player available to select at the 5th pick. Good luck finding a single person who understands basketball who thinks Monroe is more talented than Cousins. On talent alone, DeMarcus Cousins could easily be in the mix for the 1st overall pick. But, the NBA isn’t just about talent as many GM’s and NBA execs will remind you. Everybody in the L has talent. Almost everybody works at their game. (Or is said to.) It’s the diligence AND THE WAY players work at their games which is what makes the ultimate difference.

Having said the words about Monroe & Cousins, I think the Kings will settle on Cousins because of the sheer force of his talent. As Calipari said, he’s a challenge in every conceivable fashion. Monroe, for all his talent, just simply doesn’t have the likelihood to impact NBA games that Cousins does provided the right pieces fall in place for DMC.

Welcome to the conundrum that is the NBA draft.

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Responses

  1. Great blog about the draft! I love draft time whether it be NBA, NFL or NHL it’s all so much fun. It’s going to be interesting to see who falls and who rises. Lotta tough decisions for teams to make. Also, you think you could check out my piece on tomorrow’s draft? I really wanna hear your opinion on what I think. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/


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