Draft Prospects Profile: DeMarcus Cousins, Destroyer of Worlds

Zach Harper —  May 25, 2010 — 12 Comments

(Quick introduction: My name is Zach Harper and I’ll be contributing here frequently at AWAW. Some people may know me from my work at HardwoodParoxysm.com, CowbellKingdom.com, RaptorsRepublic.com and/or Talkhoops.net. As a life long Wolves fan, I feel very honored to be on this site and to be working with Ben and Myles.)

DeMarcus Cousins is looked at as a very volatile and yet talented young man who is set to unleash a fury of punishment and bewilderment on the NBA.

The problem is that nobody quite knows which direction those things will be directed.

I’m not so much concerned with the player that DeMarcus will become. He’s an absolute barbarian when it comes to his play on the court. He’s usually the biggest and strongest guy out there and knows how to use this to his advantage. This seems like a very simple concept but it’s one that not many players know how to do. Cousins is clearly comfortable with his size. He doesn’t feel overgrown or too fat for these jeans in any way. He’s a powerful guy that enjoys throwing that power around.

His weaknesses are more mental than anything else. He’s a headcase and a bad apple but not in the conventional sense. He doesn’t really get into off the court problems. During his one year at Kentucky, he was a model citizen when it came to life away from Rupp Arena. However, when he was on the court and more importantly walking towards the sidelines, you could routinely see him disagreeing and arguing with his head coach in a way not representative of a gentleman.

I don’t want to say it’s a sense of entitlement with Cousins because that doesn’t seem to be the issue. I think he’s a very strong-willed individual who can butt heads with other strong-willed individuals. Put him in a program with a more easy-going head coach and you’d probably never know that Cousins was considered somewhat of a problem child. Sure, he’d throw the occasional elbow to an opponent’s head and he’d probably get a technical foul for screaming at the referee. But overall, you wouldn’t see him screaming at his coach to go intercourse himself.

I want to you to take a few minutes and review the following two videos. If you have the time, watch both of them in their entirety. However, it’s not necessary to do so. Just watch a couple minutes of each to see the fascinating psyche on display.

DeMarcus Cousins is seemingly brilliant if you ask me. I think he’s probably the most self-aware prospect I’ve ever seen come into the NBA. He knows what he is. He knows what he has been and he knows what he will be. There is no façade with him. There is no image he’s trying to portray. Cousins dances with reporters until he grows agitated by such tomfoolery. And yet, he’s toeing the line of letting his frustration get the better of him or keeping a cool head. It’s a fascinating look into a young man figuring out his professional obligations in real time.

However, in the paraphrased words of Dave Chappelle he’s pretty much delaying the inevitable of seeing what happens when keeping it real goes bad.

DeMarcus isn’t going to pull punches or sugarcoat anything. He has an opinion of how things are and he doesn’t fill the need to filter much. He’s too intelligent to just come out and say what’s on his mind when he can sense it will be twisted or used against him at a later date. If anything, he’s constantly reminding himself of his own Miranda Rights. He’s going to try to not say anything that will be used against him in a court of public opinion later on.

I don’t know that any of this is a problem either. But I also can’t say it won’t be a problem. With DeMarcus Cousins you’ll get a demonstrative entity capable of ruling the NBA paint. It’s not so much a question of how good is he? It’s more of a question of how good will he allow himself to be?

Throwing him into a frontcourt with Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Darko Milicic (assuming he re-signs) is a potential path of destruction and a Batman utility belt full of interior options.

If you need to go all offense, you can run Jefferson and Love together. Yes, it’s defensive equivalent of interior saloon doors but at the same time, no one can theoretically stop their post scoring as they continue to mature next to each other.

If you want more of a balance, you can throw out the combination of Cousins and Jefferson or Cousins and Love together. Both work in amazing ways. Cousins can account for any defensive liabilities Love or Jefferson might pose. He can guard the strongest post player on the floor or allow Jefferson and/or Love to guard them and provide stellar weak side help. On offense, you can put both Jefferson and Cousins in the post and let them take turns pulverizing the interior. Or you can play the high-low game with Love and Cousins and watch opposing big men weep in frustration.

And on those possessions in which you need to go all defense for big stops, you can run Cousins and Darko out there together and watch them bully opposing offenses.

DeMarcus Cousins is a once in a generation level talent on the inside with a perennial bust level attitude. Rarely do we ever see guys possess both of these traits. He’s a roll of the dice in many ways because you don’t know if he’s going to be an All-Star player for your team or the next team he plays for. He’s definitely not a guy you see sticking with one organization for the majority of his career. He’s likely to be a floater in this league in the mold of a Rasheed Wallace or Zach Randolph. He would have fit in perfectly with those early millennium Blazers team.

What David Kahn will have to decipher is whether they can risk being the team he unleashes his inevitable path of destruction upon.

Because one way (opposing team) or the other (his team), it’s going to happen.

Zach Harper

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12 responses to Draft Prospects Profile: DeMarcus Cousins, Destroyer of Worlds

  1. Eric in Madison May 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Good stuff Zach.

    It seems to me that they have to take the risk on Cousins if the cost is prohibitive to move up for Turner; there’s just too much talent there to pass up.

    Ultimately, my concern is more about the Wolves than it is Cousins. The Wolves aren’t exactly a team with strong leadership personalities and an established professional culture that one senses could help Cousins in his transition to the NBA and allow his talent to flower in the league.

  2. The only part I took issue with was the idea that we’d keep all four big guys (Jefferson, Love, Cousins, Darko). I think a Cousins signing would precede a Jefferson-for-wing trade. I think that’d be too many resources tied up in the post.

  3. Funny you should say that, Rick. I’ve got a couple of ideas about that, which should be up some time today.

  4. Eric, thanks for the kind words. My concern is also with the organization first and foremost. Wolves need a veteran leader to take charge and pull this team together. I don’t know if Al or Gomes or Darko is supposed to be that guy but regardless, they don’t really have an alpha dog to take charge. I’m not positive that Rambis is that kind of coach yet either. Does he command enough of the locker room to ring all of that in?

    Seems like a glaring hole for the Wolves that needs to be addressed.

  5. “Put him in a program with a more easy-going head coach and you’d probably never know that Cousins was considered somewhat of a problem child.” That says exactly why Cousins WON’T work here. And I disagree with you saying that a Cousin/Jefferson or Cousins/Love lineup would result in more balance. Cousins is an over-grown Al Jefferson, which means he is so-so at defense. Put two so-so trolls together on defense, it probably stays so-so, maybe a little better. Cousins/Love together on defense, oh my, what a nightmare that could be! It would be just like him and Al from last season! Wouldn’t having Cousins/Darko work better on both offense and defense? Not saying that that needs to happen but in my mind that’s how I’m thinking.

  6. Is there a way to give the 4th pick to the Clippers (as part of the Cassel/Jaric deal)? If we don’t, they get our 1st pick (unprotected) next year, correct? If that is the case, that would be the one time the T-wolves get the #1 pick and we will be screwed again…..

    If they could, they can probably package there other two picks with maybe a player to move back up in the draft.

    Stupid idea or does it make some sense?

  7. I wouldn’t say it’s a stupid idea but it seems like an act of paranoia to me. I don’t think you can worry about that when you have the 4th pick in this draft. We have no idea if next year’s draft class will be worth much at the top. We DO KNOW that this year the Wolves have a shot at Turner (barely), Favors and Cousins. Those prospects are too good in my opinion to pass up.

  8. I’ve commented on Cousins on other forums and I think in one way he could eventually be the type of player the Wolves need. For some reason players that come here tend to get soft and lose their edge. Minnesota tends to soften up a lot of players. It’s too easy to coast here, expectations aren’t very high, the media and fans don’t put enough pressure on the organization, its just too Minnesota nice. A player like Cousins is going to remain tough and I believe enventually demand that from his teammates.

    On the other hand Minnesota doesn’t deal with players with his type of personality well. He is a total basket case to me and Minnesotans will not stand for that. The same thing happened with Randy Moss and Dennis Green. Minnesotans want it both ways, they want every athlete to be like Joe Mauer. Cousins is no Mauer! He will get into problems on the court ala Rasheed Wallace, we don’t know whether or not he will get into problems off the court, but I suspect he will here just because of the nature of the city. Players tend to get away with more in other cities. He’s a tough guy that needs a tough city, a tough coach too.

    I also, believe with our draft history he won’t develop here, but eventually leave and blossom. I look forward to watching Cousins play, but we are better off with Favors or Wesley Johnson.

  9. One more thing, the Wolves don’t have a solid leader. I like Gomes, but to expect him or Darko to be that leader is ridiculous. Neither one of these players should be starters in the league, unless your team is subpar.

  10. Cousins = JaMarcus Russell
    Wolves = Oakland Raiders

    I’d say there is about 50% chance Cousins will be a bust under any circumstances, which rises to about a 85% chance if he goes to the Wolves. Not worth the risk. It’s not a knock on the Wolves (I’m not saying they are as bad an organization as the Raiders, just in terms of fit with Cousins), I just think this is not a great environment for this kind of guy. Whether its JR Rider, Marbs or Kandi-man, lazy, moody types don’t do well in Minny. Just a fact. Also why I totally think some of the rumors about trading for Beasley is a bad idea.

  11. Hmmm… after watching those videos Zach I am strangely intrigued by the idea of drafting Cousins.

    If we can’t move up for Turner I feel like we have to go Cousins over say Wesley Johnson. I definitely feel that we would have to move Big Al for wing help in that scenario but I would be excited to see what Cousins and Love and Cousins and Darko could do out on the floor together.

    I also feel like Rambis + Laimbeer would be the perfect coaches to help keep Cousins focused and on the course of destruction of the other team and not the Wolves.

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