#1 John Wall
#2 Evan Turner
On to the most debated prospect on this blog, DeMarcus Cousins ...
Cousins dominated college, for the most part ...
A man amongst boys at the college level, Cousins' combination of size, length and strength is simply unparalleled at this level of competition. There are only a handful of players that can even match up with him from a physical standpoint, and outside of a couple of ho-hum performances against the strongest big men he's faced (UConn and North Carolina), he's completely destroyed the slew of largely mediocre post players he's been forced to deal with.
... partly because he's simply bigger than everyone else ...
Cousins can establish position deep in the post pretty much whenever he wants at the college level with his huge frame, huge and extremely soft hands, and incredible wingspan-- making him the perfect target to lob the ball inside the paint to.
... but he's surprisingly skilled with the ball.
Once he gets the ball where he wants it, Cousins is more than skilled enough to know what to do with it, showing quick feet, terrific footwork, excellent body control and fantastic touch to finish off plays. Often-times you'll see him creating his own shot by spinning off his man abruptly in impressive fashion, and then just using his terrific length to convert easily at the basket.
DeMarcus has something in common with Elton Brand and Marreese Speights.
Somewhat of a black hole once he receives the ball inside the paint, Cousins is not what you would call a willing passer, even if he is capable of finding the open man.
He does some good things on defense ...
Defensively, Cousins is mostly a mixed bag at this point. On one hand he provides an incredible presence in the post with his terrific size, length and bulk, often not needing to do much more than just stand in the paint with his arms outstretched in order to help his team come up with a stop. He's pretty physical on top of that and appears to be putting in a solid effort in for the most part, making it extremely difficult for opposing big men to get shots off over the top of him, and coming up with a solid 3.4 blocks per-40 minutes pace adjusted in turn.
... and some bad.
... Cousins is not the most fundamentally sound player you'll find, which combined with his below average lateral quickness causes him to get exposed from time to time when being attacked off the dribble by quicker players he's forced to switch onto. He looks a bit lazy and/or not focused getting back on defense sometimes, something that caused him and Kentucky coach John Calipari to butt heads over on occasion early on in the season.
How would he fit in with the run n' gun Sixers?
Whichever franchise drafts him will likely need to live with his limitations on this end of the floor and commit to being more of a half-court oriented team, as it's unlikely that Cousins will get much lighter on his feet over the next few years.
Finally, the much-discussed "red flags":
His body language and overall temperament on the floor is often very poor, looking somewhat lazy and disinterested and at times downright selfish. He's clearly not the smartest guy you'll find on or off the court, and he already tends to react very poorly to different situations on the floor and lose his temper in concerning fashion.
Are his "red flags" the only thing stopping him from going number one?
Concerns about his so-so athletic ability and a history of temper issues on the court were the only things holding him back from being the No. 1 pick. Still look for him to go somewhere in the 3 to 5 range.
But how much will those red flags affect him on draft night?
More and more GMs are telling me that they'd likely overlook some of the concerns about his work ethic and temper on draft night.
There just aren't many NBA-ready big men who can score and rebound like Cousins can. The fact that many NBA guys believe Cousins can be a full-time center in the NBA is also helping his cause. With other big man prospects such as Derrick Favors and Ed Davis failing to live up to the high expectations they had coming into the season, Cousins is now looking like he's passing them on the board. It's no longer inconceivable that he could end up as the No. 2 pick. The only player (from a production standpoint) who has an argument to go ahead of him is Ohio State's Evan Turner. However, Cousins plays a more coveted position.
His skills have earned high praise from GMs.
"There isn't a better low-post scorer in college basketball right now," one GM said. "Pure talent he's a top-four pick. Factor in all of the question marks about him as a kid, I still think he goes lottery. Can you name 14 players you'd rather have even with the baggage?"
"Even if the guy is going half-assed," another GM said, "he's still got more upside than most of the players in the draft."
Except for whoever said this ...
I continue to hear phrases like "He's a poor man's Derrick Coleman." Ouch
What does our go-to shot specialist think of his form?
Speaking of shots, Cousins does have a fairly good mid-range game. He rarely brings it out, but the few times I've seen him shoot a jumper, he looked smooth. His jump shot is mechanically sound, with a good release and nice rotation on the ball. That's one of the reasons I think he can be a better free throw shooter.
DX: Best case - Taller Al Jefferson
Worst case - Derrick Coleman/Eric Dampier
NBADraft.net - Eddy Curry/Derrick Coleman
As most know, I'm not the biggest DeMarcus Cousins fan. I think he'll be a productive NBA player, and I think he'll put up big numbers, but I don't believe he'll ever develop into the type of player who can win a championship as a team's best or second best player. The Randolph/Coleman comparisons fit him well. Both are/were very talented, but other issues stopped them from becoming centerpieces on championship teams. His bad defense, questionable athleticism, black hole-mentality, and character issues all concern me. The Sixers will be successful if they play great defense and get out in transition. Drafting Cousins could hurt both philosophies. Adding a legitimate low-post threat sounds good in theory, but it didn't work with Elton Brand, and we already have Brand's replacement in Speights. That said, he shouldn't go lower than five, and if the Sixers stayed at six and Cousins somehow fell, I'd be thrilled to have him.