The Sixers Won't Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins, But Here's Why They Should

DeMarcus Cousins has been deemed a headcase since before his first game as a Kentucky Wildcat. He was "difficult". Under John Calipari, he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game on 56% shooting in less than 24 minutes per game. He was the most dominant collegiate big man the nation has seen since, arguably, Shaquille O'Neal. But because he sparred with Calipari and came with a questionable level of maturity, he fell to the fifth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft behind at least three players who are less talented than he, including Evan Turner. Million dollar arm, ten cent head.

The Sacramento Kings gambled on him because, well, they haven't been good since Rick Adelman left five years prior and the roster was lacking in talent. As expected, he had a mixed bag of a rookie campaign. The talent was there but the shot selection was questionable and his head only occasionally stopped by. Now, only a few games into the Lockout-shortened season, he has either demanded a trade or not demanded a trade depending on who you ask. It seems like, despite reports that they won't, the Kings are going to have to bite the bullet and trade him, probably for less of a return than they deserve.

The Sixers will not be one of the teams putting their hat in the DMC ring, because of a host of reasons you already know (Collins and chemistry being the main ones) but I'm of the opinion that they should. Here's why.

DeMarcus Cousins is, simply, one of the best big man prospects in the NBA today. His ceiling is far higher than that of Derrick Favors, Ed Davis, Greg Monroe, and Roy Hibbert. If he puts it all together, this is a guy that could carry a team to a championship. His combination of agility and strength inside is unmatched, but when you factor in an increasingly reliable mid-range jump shot, this is a franchise player.

Despite the current starting center and former Sacramento King himself, Spencer Hawes, playing like a complete animal thus far, he's not a long-term option at the 5 for this team. With Elton Brand on his way out soon (and playing like a fourth option) and Nikola Vucevic better suited for bench play, the front court is thin for the Sixers. Bringing in a legitimate scoring threat from the 5-spot - something Philadelphia hasn't had since....um.... George McGinnis? - would do wonders for vaulting this team into legitimacy in the next year or two.

Yes, it would be a risk. Yes, this is an exercise in futility because the Sixers will not go after him. What I've always preached is that you can't compete for a championship without either having a top 5 player fall into your lap or going out on a limb and taking a risk. The Celtics took a risk bringing in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen when they traded a ton of young talent in what was seen as a win-now move. Four years later, they're still contending. It's a different circumstance, but it's one way how a team takes a huge risk (the Heat threesome was less risky since they're all so young) and it's paid off for them.

Cousins may never figure it out. His head may be too far up his ass that in five years, he hasn't Zach Randolph'd or Gerald Wallace'd and he's whining somewhere in the Far East. Nobody can know that now. But the team that does take a chance on him could be rewarded with one of the best centers of the generation. And that's a risk I wish the Sixers would take.

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