Why I support this bold claim
The other day, there was an article in the Boston Globe ("Cousins seen by some as a relatively risky move") in which John Greig was quoted frequently praising Cousins. Among the statements made by/implied by Greig:
"Greig believes the 6-foot-11-inch, 270-pound Cousins presents even more of an upside than Wall."
Quote: “There isn’t anybody in the NBA with the same physical characteristics that he has. If ESPN and John Calipari hadn’t had blue pompoms out for Wall all year and they had equally praised both players, who would be No. 1? The teams that had done their proper homework, they would take him No. 1.’’
I agree that John Wall should be the top pick in this year's draft, but I really love this guy's brief, yet powerful statement and think it's worth discussing. There are so many topics in this forum listing the league's best young point guards, and for good reason: there are a TON. Now think: how many great young big men there are? How many at all?
One Magic blogger went to far as to say Dwight Howard might even be the most valuable player in the league simply due to the fact that there are so few good big men. That, too, is semi-ridiculous, but think about it, and why it justifies Greig's comments. 5 of the top 35 scorers this year were centers, and one of those centers is David Lee (the point here is to argue for true centers). In terms of how drastically the quality of centers has declined consider the All-NBA teams, consider this. This year, the third team selection was Andrew Bogut.
Now let's backtrack a decade. 1999-2000? David Robinson. 1998-99? Hakeem Olajuwon. 1997-98? Mutombo. 1996-97? Shaq. That's right, Shaq. On the third team.
As Greig says, there are 0 players in the NBA with Cousins' physical gifts at the position. The NBA needs more potentially great, dominant centers when it has an embarrassment of riches at the PG position, more players to intimidate the Lakers big men (they have about 30% of the league's skilled 7-footers), to even out the balance of power. That said, they'll have Cousins no matter what, but do some teams need him ever more? The fact that the top 4 teams in the lottery all have franchise point guards attests to that. Now look at how many teams picking in the lottery have dominant big men. Should Cousins be the #1 pick, is he the #1 talent? Probably not. But Greig does raise some very interesting points that I can't say I totally disagree with.
This is laughable. John Wall is going to be RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. Cousins will be really good, but you can't pass on John Wall.
Wait a minute!!! Isnt John Greig the same guy that played with the SuperSonics in the early 80's? And Isn't John Greig, Cousins agent? lol..If so its his job to promote his client...But He might be right about Cousins being special..He's an extremely effected rebounder,has a nice touch,great post game and has a mean streak....If it wasn't for his sometime immaturity and if he was a little more explosive athlete..Folks would be talking about him as the number 1 pick..Even right now..Scouts & G.M's are doing extensive investigations into his background to find out more about him..Becuz teams know the league lacks true centers in today's game..Some teams are seriously thinking of taking him number 2..Whoever drafts Cousins might be getting a guy that might be posting a nightly double-double next year...
I think this bold claim does deserve some discussion. I too, agree that John Wall and probably even Evan Turner should be drafted before Cousins, but neither have his upside (Yes, I said it, DeMarcus Cousins has more upside than either Turner or Wall). With that being said, their are serious question marks. If you look at the numbers DeMarcus Cousins put up this year, as far as efficiency is concerned, they are off the charts. He was a first team All-American and played less the 60% of the game on average. With his frame, length and skill set, he has to be considered a very rare prospect, right in the category of a Greg Oden (I am talking about as a prospect, as I will probably get gripes due to the fact that he has been injury free and how much people dislike Greg, but, he was a HUGE prospect with a very unique skill set and obvious physical/athletic talent rare in a man of his size). I have even heard that he has a 7'6 wing span, which at 6'11, makes him as long as LaMarcus Aldridge, though he makes LA look like Tayshaun Prince frame wise.
Even watching DeMarcus in HS, you could see he just had a great feel for the game, a soft touch and just a given natural ability for basketball rare for a player his size. You can count the legitimately GOOD centers on one hand (I am not even saying great, those you can count less than one hand). It is one of my biggest beliefs that you need big men to be a champion (not just a contender, or good team, but a team that wins a ring) , and the NBA's history backs me up on this. If you go back over the history of the league, you will see champions built on defense and rebounding, and even if not every team had a dominant center, the majority were well set at the bigger front court positions. So, while many teams lately have been led by incredible swing men, they have also been backed up by some of the premier post players in the game, with the necessary size and rebounding to get the job done. DeMarcus Cousins has the tools to be a potential match-up nightmare, and this would be incredibly beneficial to a team looking to win in the long run. He is also a rarity in that his set of tools could translate into making life easier for his team mates, and in turn making his team mates significantly better, maybe as much if not more than John Wall or Evan Turner. Why do you think Dwyane Wade said he would rather play with Dwight Howard than LeBron James? As much as the statement seems crazy, playing with a dominant big guy makes great swingmen/lead guards that much easier. It may not show up in the assist column, but it tends to show up in the win column.
With all of this lauding of the importance of centers and how rare a prospect he is, there is of course a reason for concern, which is why he will likely go anywhere from 3-5 in the draft (with the lottery pending, it still seems like Wall/Turner are locks for 1-2). These reasons are enough to make you really worry, and make the case for Cousins possibly going even further down in the draft. Though I do not know much about his concerns regarding attitude and maturity, these are I am sure some legitimate concerns. Does he have the desire to be a great player? Natural ability only takes you so far, and the best players I am convinced work their tails off to get to that point. While there are numerous examples, you have to think about the 1995 Draft. I mean, many thought at the time it was an oversight not to choose Kevin Garnett #1 in the first place, but Joe Smith just did not have that same desire, and you have to question his work ethic. I mean, I could be totally wrong, but Joe seemed very laid back, where as Kevin Garnett as much as I believe he has become the NBA's grumpy old man, it is impossible to question his incredible intensity and competitiveness. At the same time, guys like Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess never really relished the spot light, but at the same time, were great complimentary players on solid winning teams (and Sheed has a ring). None of those players I mentioned has the tools DeMarcus Cousins has to be a dominant low post figure (though you could argue Rasheed Wallace probably could have without his fall backs in the attitude department). Another thing with Cousins, he played 23 minutes per game in college. You look at that number and can maybe attribute it to foul trouble, maybe to having a potential lottery pick playing behind him in Daniel Orton, maybe the fact that Kentucky won a bunch of games by 30 points. Well, I think a great deal has to be attributed to poor conditioning. The fact is, does DeMarcus Cousins pass the eye test as a dominant big man at this point? I feel he could probably get into much better shape than he was in college, and I feel he has to do this, especially if you wanted to consider him the best prospect in the draft.
When draft day comes around, I am pretty sure he will be in a situation where he will most likely get immediate playing time. This will lead to very big expectations, and you have to factor that in with everything I just pointed out. He has the talent, he has the size and he seems like he has some toughness. But does he have the work ethic? That is the biggest question, and history usually affects the draft greatly. If Derrick Rose had not been a successful pro in his first 2 years, do you not think GM's and the press would be saying "Are you sure about taking Wall #1?" Obviously, John Wall is a fantastic player and different than Rose, but I feel GM's would make that connection. Maybe even if Tyreke had struggled as well, it could have caused problems, due to Coach Cal. But, John Wall plays for Cal, and is a talented lead guard. DeMarcus Cousins on the other hand, is the first huge big man prospect since Marcus Camby, so it is a different ball game. He is an anomally, and his attitude concerns are not at all unfounded and if I had the number 1 or 2 pick in the draft, there would be huge concern in drafting Cousins over Wall and Turner, who definitely seem like they have more of a possibility of fulfilling there potential. Look at Greg Oden and Michael Beasley (who are two players I have not given up on, but have nonetheless underwhelmed those enamored by their monstrous potential). As I said, Greg Oden had the injuries that Cousins does not, but DeMarcus is a big guy, and when you carry that much weight, injuries are a concern. Big guys just have more of a likelihood of injury, and DeMarcus could have concerns there. I am never one to want to predict injury, and I sincerely hope DeMarcus does not suffer any throughout his career (though it is inevitable in basketball), but as a post player, it just seems to happen, it is a very physically demanding job.
So, now that you have that, which is just making a connection with a somewhat similar prospect, their is another connection that is even more simple to make, which is Cousins and Beasley. Beasley had many of the same concerns as Cousins, and while he did not possess his size, his ability and production in college were similar to that of a Kevin Durant, he had that big of a year. But, his attitude was questioned, to the point where it made it not only legitimate to take a point guard in front of him (as talented as Derrick Rose was and is, especially when a guy was just as all out dominant as Michael Beasley at K-State), but had several people questioning whether the Heat were sold on Beasley at second pick, some saying they might trade it away, some saying they might take OJ Mayo or were praying for Derrick Rose. Well, they stuck with Beasley, and up to this point, I am fairly sure they would not mind a mulligan. Mayo and Russell Westbrook certainly seem like they would have helped the Heat out a great deal more than Beasley, maybe even Brook Lopez would have been a much bigger impact player. Also, as talented of an offensive player Beasley is, he has been lauded for his poor defense, which I think has a lot to do with desire and conditioning. Not to mention, even Barack Obama knew about Beasley's problems over the summer, and while I very much feel sympathy for him and do not know the extent of these problems, it does not bode well for him as far as calming the concerns over his attitude. Enter in the whole Tito Jackson saga with Charles Barkley, B-Easy is not looking like such a beast anymore. I judge individuals as that, but when you see so many players and attitudes, it is hard not to develop a precedent of who you want to take a risk on and who you want to avoid.
So, I know this post has gone way beyond anyone reading or paying attention to what I have said, but to outline, yes, I believe DeMarcus Cousins has the most potential of anyone in the draft, I think that he has a less likely chance of reaching that potential than John Wall and most likely Evan Turner, but I do think he would be worth the risk of probably a second or third pick this year. If you want to build a championship team, than sometimes you need to make a gamble on a player like DeMarcus Cousins, and his size and skill set make it that much easier to roll the dice. But, also, buyer beware and just know that I would take a deeper look into his attitude and mind set rather than just oggle at his measurements, combine numbers and his most likely more trim physique heading into draft work outs. Will he be ready to go once the season starts? The only thing that can tell you that is if you get a good guage on his work ethic and demeanor, because if he has the desire to get better that the best in the game have, than their is a chance he could be a player who starts a new precedent, and could even make a team look bad for not taking him #1-2.
That is +1 just for typing so much haha.
an the longest nbadraft.net post goes to.....................mikeyvthedon
If not for Wall's Hype people would be talking about Cousins as being the next Shaq or worst a more athletic Al Jefferson. I still think Wall will go number one but number 2 is now up in the air if people believe that Cousins can be mature because talent wise he is on Wall's level and most people go big over small but the way Rose is playing is making it a lock that Wall goes number one. Also Rondo playing well is also helping considering those are the two guys Wall is compared to.. I believe a lot of teams want Cousins and that is why they are not gushing on him because he could fall to someone because GM get caught up in hype. Remember Amare Stoudamire would have went top 5 if not for Yao Ming and the attention he got. He went number 10 to Phoenix and if you look back not you are saying how in the world could that happen. Gm's sometimes pick based on hype and talented players who dont get as much hype tend to fall. There will be a lot of lottery talent taken in the second round.
Well, I do not post as often as some people, but when I post I try to make sure whatever I am doing is somewhat insightful and has substance. Also, when I have a point I am trying to get across, it usually involves connections, and I guess I kind of make it into like the form of an essay with a thesis I am trying to prove. I usually look on here and find a post or a topic and just write like an article, as I love writing about basketball and find there are not many articles up that keep me thinking and entertained. I have thought about starting my own basketball blog, at the suggestion of friends, and I think it is about time to do so. It just seems like many posts get beaten into the ground or repeated, and some of the topics involve things so far in the past/future that their is very little behind them to be engaged by. So, I am glad people read my post, I made another really long one involving Free Agent Predictions, that I doubt many people saw due to the influx of topics afterwards.