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Monday, June 18, 2018

Bullish on DeMarcus Cousins in the NBA

It seems as if every year around draft time in the major sports there is at least one prominent player picked on for “character issues.” Real or not, the media needs a compelling storyline to write and talk about. In the NFL this year, that player was Dez Bryant, who had issues that may have been overblown. In the NBA this year, that player has been Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins, who’s been carrying around the dreaded “character issues” tag for quite some time.

With John Wall and Evan Turner virtual locks to go 1-2 in the NBA Draft, the question marks emerge after that: who goes next? Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, Greg Monroe, or dare I say DeMarcus Cousins? I know if I had the pick I’d be going Cousins. I watched DeMarcus play plenty of times throughout the season with Kentucky and he was easily one of the biggest forces in college basketball. He can score, he can block shots, and can he ever rebound. In my experience, the one skill that translates the best to the next level (aside from something static like free throw shooting) is rebounding. Cousins did it ferociously at the college level and I have no doubt he’ll do it well in the NBA.

Whether Cousins needs to slim down by 10 pounds to perform at his peak in the Association is questionable. Big Baby has some pudge and is doing fine while Shaq was arguably his most dominant with the extra weight on his frame. Knowing that DeMarcus will have to compete with beasts like Dwight Howard and Yao Ming, checking in at 290 pounds my not be the worst thing. I know he’s only 19-years-old and labeled as immature and difficult to coach, but I know that DeMarcus Cousins can flat out play, and that’s more important to me than the other issues.

Greg Monroe’s a passer who won’t ever be a game-changer, Derrick Favors was hyped up but I’m still waiting to see his domination, and Wes Johnson may be NBA-ready but he’s not anything special to me. DeMarcus Cousins is a difference-maker. When I see Cousins, I see a Carlos Boozer body and attitude. I see a guy who can make a team much much better. I see a guy who can help turn a team around. If I were drafting for a team and had access to Cousins, I would make that pick.

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