Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cousins Expectations

Demarcus Cousins - 6'11", 270 lb.
2009-2010 with Kentucky Wildcats
23.5 minutes, 15.1 points (60.4% FG, 55.8 FT%), 9.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, 2.1 TOs

The guy's a beast.

Demarcus Cousins probably should have gone before John Wall in the draft. He's more talented and more productive on the court. That shows you how much his demeanor and sullied media reputation scared off NBA GMs. Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, and Wes Johnson are all half the talent that Demarcus is on the floor, but they all had squeaky clean images associated with them. Demarcus has to use this as motivation every single day for the rest of his career to prove that he can be an elite big man against the greatest competition he could ever face.

An acceptable start for his career would be for him to achieve Al Jefferson numbers. The only catch is that, though it took Al 3 years before he nudged himself up to double-double territory, Cousins needs to get there right now. They have a lot of the same skills, as both are amongst the rare bigs left who show off a polished back-to-the-basket post game with deft hooks from either hand. They're both long-armed trees in the paint who, though may not consistently make the right defensive decisions, are always a threat for straight-up or help-side blocks. Their biggest difference is in the fact that Al is distinctively mild mannered while Demarcus is always the aggressor. Jefferson's numbers should be a jumping pad for Cousins. In all honesty, Boogie's best case scenario should be Shaq-like numbers; he's actually that talented. But I'm trying to keep it more realistic and taper off my expectancy of Cuz at the level of a better version of Jefferson. We all cool with that?

Al Jefferson - 6'10", 265 lb.
2008-2009 with Minnesota Timberwolves
36.7 minutes, 23.1 points (49.7% FG, 73.8% FT), 10.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.8 blocks, .8 steals, 1.8 TOs

The worst case for Boogie is a heavy pitfall to the level of Benoit Benjamin. Picked third by the Clips based on his size and potential upside, Benjamin failed to ever break out as anything more than a serviceable role player bugged by nagging injuries. This is where Demarcus would fall only if his weight is a recurring issue and he never fully dedicates himself to putting in the gym time to perfect his craft. If he's not able to show off his perimeter capabilities, something that was never utilized in the college ranks, then his ceiling is as an inconsistent dump-down threat and sizable post defender. That's it. But I can't even envision that happening. Boogie is motivated by every single sleight he perceives from fans, the media, opposing players, and entire organizations. Trust me ... he's not gonna let himself fall to this level.

Benoit Benjamin - 7'0", 265 lb.
1988-1989 with Los Angeles Clippers
32.7 minutes, 16.4 points (54.1% FG, 74.4% FT), 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.8 blocks, .7 steals, 3.0 TOs

Beyond playing style comparisons, hopefully Demarcus will be able to quickly shed himself of the "Derrick Coleman" branding that he's been ordained with. While Coleman was an immensely productive big man for the majority of his 16 year career, the combination of weight issues, alcohol, and his consistently problematic behavior completely overruled his on-the-court play. Despite having the talent to be one of the greatest power forwards ever, Coleman was content with a single All-Star appearance and only two showings on the All-NBA Third Team. If that abbreviated trophy case is all Demarcus winds up with in the twilight of his playing days, he'll have been a major disappointment, too.

While pretty much everyone expects Cousins to start from day one with the Kings to begin perfecting his two-man game with Tyreke Evans, he does have some legitimate competition for heavy minutes. Samuel Dalembert is probably going to be slated as the starting center while Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Donte Green, Darnell Jackson, and even fellow rookie Hassan Whiteside will compete for clock from the bench. This logjam will be easily remedied from Cuz's perspective if he's physically capable of holding his own in the early going at the center position, as well. That way he can just naturally slide over one spot when Dalembert goes to the bench and preserve his floor time. This is all assuming, though, that Boogie will be able to drop his penchant for committing stupid fouls. It's very telling that Demarcus was only able to play 23 of 40 minutes of college ball on a nightly basis because of foul trouble, stunting what could have been Player of the Year caliber statistics. All things considered, I think Demarcus is a legitimate threat in the Rookie of the Year race and, by his third season, could already be in All-Star territory. If he plays his cards perfect, he has the potential to be an era-defining big man and wiggle his way into the heart of fans as the loveably tough monster, a la Shaq. Though many see it as a deterrent, I see his on-court ferociousness as a trait that could help seamlessly transition his game onto the pro level. You can bet anything that Favors won't be mixing it up, knocking against Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard from day one. Demarcus will.

... and do the John Wall.

No comments:

Post a Comment

so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?