Archives For Darko Milicic

What Are You Looking At?

Myles Brown —  October 9, 2010 — 2 Comments

photo by slashfilm

David Kahn’s ever present smirk must’ve crept another quarter inch up the side of his face this week. It certainly isn’t the time for ‘I told you so’, but it is becoming clear that he’s onto something.

This team is relatively deep, versatile and its pieces may be more complementary than we thought. The Wolves should be able to score with more ease and efficiency than last year through a stronger frontcourt and capable wingmen. Kevin Love is no longer the only willing passer on the block, Nikola Pekovic is the bruiser we’ve lacked for quite some time and Wesley Johnson is looking like a lot more than a consolation prize in the Evan Turner Sweepstakes.

Now we don’t want to make the mistake of reading too much into two preseason games- like those parents proudly posting a summer school B+ on the refrigerator, but we should still identify with the sentiment. It’s nice to know your kid isn’t as dumb as you’ve been told.

And that’s just the thing. These are still kids. There will be flashes of potential that will have us beaming with pride and there will be plenty of times that make you want to take off your belt. Any team that can consider Sebastian Telefair an elder statesman is going to have its growing pains. These are young players, many of whom are playing out of position and looking to shed poor reputations. So it’s important not to let the past get in the way of an honest assessment on their development.

Which brings us to Sebastian Pruiti’s analysis of Michael Beasley, in which he claims our tweener forward is doomed to a life of mediocrity. On the court at least. Sayeth the Pruiti…

“Why do I think that? Because playing consistently is a mindset. It has nothing to do with talent at all.

I have to say, I believe Michael Beasley is destined to be inconsistent his entire career. He has all of the talent in the world, but I never think he is going to be able to display it on a nightly basis. So what makes me think this inconsistency will continue in Minnesota? All you have to do is look at his preseason performance in the first two games:

I feel like I should mention, that yes, I understand that this is the preseason and that you can’t really judge much from it. But I think mentality and decisions like whether or not someone drives or settles for the jumper can be – to me, it isn’t that Beasley went 4-12 against the Knicks after going 8-10 against the Lakers, its how he did it….

….To sum things up, Beasley has the skills to be a very good player. However, the mental aspect of the game is holding him back, and in my opinion it will prevent him from ever being a star. I realize people are going to think I am making these decisions based on two preseason games, but I am not. It’s more than just the performance and the numbers, its how he goes about it.”

While Pruiti has put forth solid examples supporting his theory, it does deserve a bit more context. These are not only Beasley’s first two games of preseason, they’re the first two games of preseason with new teammates, a new position and a new system, one that’s confounded much savvier players than he. Any struggles with consistency from now ’til February could be no more of an issue than a young man finding his niche.

Let’s not dismiss this entirely either. At what point do we have to consider that Super Cool Beas can only be himself? Questions have been raised about his potential before, mainly stemming from his ADHD and fondness for Mary Jane Juana. Beasley says they’re broken up and that’s all in the past, but so is the rookie symposium bust, the rehab, the SpongeBob marathons and the Tito comparisons.

Putting too much emphasis on any of this is doing him a disservice, but so is pretending it never happened. Beasley doesn’t possess the ball handling skills of an ideal hybrid such as Lamar Odom or LeBron James, so he can’t display the same open court brilliance or finesse his way through half court sets. This is a player who is too small to play where he may be most productive and not quick or skilled enough for the position he’s best suited. There will be much trial and many errors, however with less pressure, surrounded by better talent and ample opportunity, it’s not naive to expect more. Pruiti is absolutely correct in his assertion that Beasley’s mentality will be the deciding factor of whether he will succeed or not, but it is far too early to know what that mindset is. Right?….Right?

Conversely, there shall be no doubts about what’s on Darko Milicic’s mind. Buckets, more buckets, and possibly french fries. As the Serbian gangster told our friends at SLAM earlier this week

And what about himself; will he be looking to score more now Jefferson’s gone?

“You know, I have that shit in me, I just didn’t have a chance to use it,” he said. “I used to be offensive, I used to be a three-point shooter. So for me, I’ve just got to switch the flip and have that offensive mind-set.

“It’s what I used to do before I got to the NBA, and it’s what I’m going to try to do again.”

David Kahn deserves more credit than he’s received for this summer’s haul, however he also needs to be aware that he’s not only collecting talent, but combustible personalities. And he’s only onto something as long as they are.

Maybe you’ve heard of Sebastian Pruiti. He’s been holding a takeover of the NBA blogging world over the past year with his great coverage of the New Jersey Nets on NetsAreScorching.com and getting his Hubie Brown on at NBAPlaybook.com. Not many bloggers and analysts can break down aspects of basketball the way he does.

Bassy (Nets blogger Bassy not Coney Island’s Through The Fire Bassy) decided to break down Darko Milicic’s passing ability. This was inspired by the hilariously hilarious NBATV David Kahn interview during a summer league game last month in which he compared Darko’s passing ability to biblical snacks from the highest of high powers. It left most people scratching their heads while it gave the Kahn-Darko supporters something to spout off as a defense of the past year while hoping someone created a diversion for them to slip out the back door.

Here is the link to Bassy’s breakdown with a snippet of text:

First, let’s take a look at the numbers really quick.  Darko averaged 1.8 assists and 1.4 turnovers in his 24 games with the Timberwolves, good for an Assist to Turnover ratio of 1.3.  That number isn’t all that bad, considering the average among centers who played at least 15 minutes per game is 0.93 (Darko was ranked 14th).  However, it doesn’t really tell the whole story, because turnovers can happen at any time (instead of purely passing turnovers), and as everyone knows, assists are a really tough statistic to keep track of.  So that means we have to look at the video tape to really get a feel of Darko’s passing ability.

In the flow of an offense where he doesn’t have to make a decision (and he can just throw a pass), Darko is actually a good (but not great passer). Now, he is no Vlade Divac, but in my opinion he is slightly above average.  The Timberwolves actually do a lot of cutting off of Darko when he has the basketball to take advantage of this.  In fact, this is almost exclusively how he got his assists with the Wolves.  If you go to Synergy and look up his assists, you see just about all his assists plays described as Cuts (and very little as spot up – more on this later).

Looking at the entire post and the video evidence Bassy provides to us, you can see that Darko is definitely not a bad passer. He has some ability and vision and works very well in the offense. But to compare him to some of the greatest passing big men of all time is just ludicrous. Darko isn’t bad but he isn’t good either. He’s okay. I don’t know if I’d sell average defense and okay passing for $20 million over four years but that’s going to be a debate we have constantly over the next four years.

On a scale of Yinka Dare to Vlade Divac, it looks like Darko’s passing is about a Dwight Howard.

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

ESPN’s panel of experts has been speaking for nearly two weeks now. So far, they think the Heat will win lots of basketball games, that Amare Stoudemire will be a disappointment and that Lebron James will be good. Nothing all that controversial there. Today, though, the panel pronounced that our Timberwolves would be the most tumultuous team in the NBA this year. The Pups narrowly beat out the Cavs and Hornets but still, I thought, our honor needed some defending. So over at the ESPN NBA page, I did just that. Here’s the nuts and bolts of the thing. As you can see, they caught me on an optimistic day:

I realize it seems questionable to brazenly flout the “best player available” maxim by drafting Wesley Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins, and then immediately duplicating Johnson’s skill set by trading the 16th pick for Martell Webster.

It’s strange to trade Al Jefferson, the team’s best player over the past three seasons, for two draft picks, and then bring in Michael Beasley to replace him as your go-to scorer. And even stranger to sign two Serbian centers for a grand total of $34 million over the next four seasons, especially when one of them is named Darko Milicic.

And maybe you’re also amused and/or exhausted by the knowledge that in the first year of Kahn’s tenure, the Wolves have acquired no fewer than seven point guards, some of them more than once (although, to his credit, not all at the same time).

And that teenage prodigy Ricky Rubio — the fifth pick in the ’09 draft and maybe the best player of all of those PGs — currently runs game in Barcelona with no guarantee of ever setting foot in Minnesota…

It’s fashionable at the moment to ridicule Kahn as an abrasive, unqualified hack. It’s clear the man has had some awfully low moments this summer and that he and Rambis haven’t yet found that transcendent player who will give meaning to their long-suffering franchise. And it’s equally clear that the Wolves are going to lose a lot of games this season.

But if you scan this lineup — Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Wes Johnson, Martell Webster, Corey Brewer, even Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley — you’ll find a lot of young, smart, athletic, hungry players. These are players who want to learn, who want to run, who want to move the ball and play defense. Aren’t these just the type of players who would seem to fit well into Rambis’ up-tempo-and-triangle offense? And when you consider the Wolves have roughly $10 million in cap space, doesn’t the picture look a lot less ridiculous than this chaotic offseason might have suggested?

Am I just being naïve? Is it wrong for Wolves fans to hold on to even these tiny shreds of optimism? Let me tell you a story.

For the three years beginning with their six-game Western Conference finals loss to the Lakers in 2004 and ending with the Kevin Garnett trade of 2007, the Wolves slowly melted down. With very few exceptions (KG among them), the team became a nightmare of ball-hogging, extravagant contract demands, intentionally careless defense and mediocre effort. As the front office hemorrhaged draft picks, this collection of aging jump-shooters and corrosive personalities contributed to the firing of both Flip Saunders and Dwane Casey and helped hasten the KG era’s sad, pathetic end. What I’m saying is: We’ve seen turmoil and this isn’t it.

We could probably argue all day about whether or not Darko Milicic and the shaping of the frontcourt is the correct thing to do for this franchise.

It’s the least confident I’ve felt in any frontcourt the Wolves have ever had since Kevin McHale informed David Stern who the fifth pick of the 1995 NBA Draft would be.

But after watching as many games I could find online, talking to people who religiously follow Euro ball and reading over Sebastian Pruiti’s perfect breakdown of Nikola Pekovic over at NBA Playbook, I’m feeling a lot better about the newest and biggest addition to the Wolves interior. Before you do anything, go read Bassy’s breakdown of Pekovic’s game. I’d say it’s a flawless summary of what Pekovic does and doesn’t do well on a basketball court.

I’ll even give you the link again. No need to rush; I’ll wait for you to finish.

Okay, are we good now? Let’s discuss what Pekovic means for this team.

At 6’11” and roughly 250 lbs, Nikola Pekovic is the best post scorer the T’Wolves have on their roster. With Al Jefferson gone to Utah and Kevin Love much more effective in the high post and facing up against his defender, Pekovic immediately becomes the guy on this roster you want getting the ball with his back to the basket. For the last three years (when Pek was with Partizan and Panathinaikos), he was one of the best scoring big men across the ocean.

Check out the scoring numbers (via Draft Express):

Nikola is impressively efficient in scoring the ball in the post. The fact that his lowest field goal percentage is 57.4% should tell you a lot about his patience and ability to get off quality shots inside. There’s not a lot of wasted movement. For the last couple of years, we’ve been used to watching Al Jefferson pump fake eight times before awkwardly getting his shot off. It went in more than it rimmed out for a rebound opportunity but it wasn’t the most efficient way to get a good flow in your halfcourt offense. But with Pekovic, you’re going to get direct movement that gets the ball into the basket in the quickest and most proficient way we’ve seen with this franchise.

This doesn’t mean that the 24-year old rookie will come in and dominate the NBA in any way. While 6’11” and 250 lbs is big, it’s not really NBA humongous. He’ll probably end up drawing the biggest defender on the floor when he’s paired with Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. He’ll have to use his physical nature to get guys out of defensive position and pounce on the scoring opportunity immediately. If he can’t create space to get his shots up, the bigger defenders will overwhelm him. And if he gets stopped in his tracks in the post, he has very limited passing skills to get something else going.

However with Darko Divac or Kevin Love in the high post, you can run a lot of good high-low stuff to get Pekovic posted and re-posted if he has to fight for better position. And if he can prove he has a nice 15-foot jumper then you might be able to have a slightly smaller Marc Gasol playing the post for the Wolves this season.

Take a look at Gasol’s European scoring numbers:

They’re sort of similar to what Pekovic was putting up the last few years. But that’s where the similarities between the two probably end.

Defensively, I’m still very worried about this frontcourt. I don’t think most big men can overpower Pekovic inside. He has a good center of gravity and uses his strength and weight well in the way he moves guys around on both ends of the floor. But put him in a situation in which he has to help and I’m a little terrified of what might be. He seems to have a hard time making up his mind of what to do defensively. And in the NBA, you simply can’t get away with hesitating to make that decision.

He shows really well on pick-and-rolls (which Sebastian showed beautifully in his post) but I wonder if that will translate to the bigger, quicker guards of the NBA. This is the biggest difference between Pekovic and Marc Gasol. Gasol has become a very exceptional defender, especially on the perimeter. He stays with perimeter players extremely well for a big man. He also retreats to the interior once he’s done showing well. Pekovic did this to a degree in Europe but at the same time, he seemed to be desperately recovering rather than rotating with a plan of defense.

Maybe it’s unfair to compare him to Marc Gasol when he hasn’t even shown what he can do on the NBA level. Even despite his success in Europe, Marc Gasol took a full year until he became an All-Star level center in the NBA. And if Pekovic can approach that in any way in the next three years of his contract, then the Wolves will have a nice piece.

But the interior defense is just as weak as it was last season if not worse. Pekovic is not a strong rebounder by any means and Darko has been an inconsistent rebounder throughout his career. As good of a rebounder as Kevin Love is (even if it’s best in the league), he can’t end possessions enough with his glasswork to make this defensive interior decent. Pekovic, Love and Darko are all mediocre to poor defenders inside.

It’s nice that they have options on offense, especially with the potential scoring Pek can bring them. But this interior is far from complete on the defensive end if this franchise wants to get serious about rebuilding.

Dark, Dark, Dark

Benjamin Polk —  July 2, 2010 — 6 Comments

Argonne National Laboratory

No matter how badly it hurts your stomach to think of it, please remember that it really is not Darko Milicic’s fault that he was drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He was just an 18-year-old Serbian kid with bleached tips who wanted to play in the NBA. Not his fault.

And now, seven years on, as his 2003 lottery brethren, pursue their max deals and their dream-team lineups and hypothetical titles, Chad Ford reports that Darko and the Timberwolves have made a verbal agreement on a new four-year, $20 million deal. Here’s the best part of Ford’s article: “The deal for Milicic is extraordinary considering in February he wasn’t playing and said he was giving up on the NBA to return to Europe.” Hey, that is extraordinary, would somebody please give that guy 20 million dollars!? Recall: this means that Al Jefferson’s days as a Wolf are essentially over. So, no more of the Big Al torture chamber, no more of that surly Mississippi wit, no more of that silky up-fake.

In many ways, its easy to understand Darko’s allure for Kurt Rambis and David Kahn. Darko is an actual seven-footer (especially when he’s not slouching his shoulders and slightly bowing his head, which he does often). He’s got long arms, soft hands and nimble feet. He has, they say, a real knowledge of the game and truly impressive court vision and passing skills. In all of these respects, Darko is a better fit than Jefferson for both for Rambis’s offense, which relies on decisiveness and sharp passing out of the post, and for the T-Wolves defense, which is in desperate need of a long-limbed rim protector.

But, friends, this account comes with some serious caveats. First, despite his immense gifts of size, dexterity and coordination, Darko is a terrible scorer. His career true shooting percentage is .482, which, for a seven-footer, is really, really bad. Like, worse than Robert Swift (.531), worse than Jerome James (.510), worse than Patrick O’Bryant (.513), just to name a few. For the most part, this is due to his chronic passivity. While Big Al uses his footwork and ball skills to attack the basket (when he’s not settling for 15-foot jumpers, that is), Darko’s array of feints and spins seem to carry him invariably along the path of least resistance, ever further from the hoop; the result, generally, his is gently fading jump hook. Without a doubt, Darko can get that shot whenever he wants and is tall and long enough to see over almost any defender who checks him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go in all that much.

As for that badly needed defense. Sure enough, over his career Darko blocks about a shot more per 36 minutes than Al. But in the stats that really matter, its hard to find a significant difference. Last season, the Wolves were 1.6 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Darko was on the floor. In ’08-’09, Al’s last healthy year, the Wolves were .9 points better per 100. Similarly, according to 82games.com, Darko’s and Al’s opponents were roughly equally productive last season. So Darko has an edge, but its pretty slender, especially considering the malleability and imprecision of these kinds of defensive stats.

That passivity hurts Darko at the defensive end of the floor, too. As I’ve mentioned, he was able to block some shots last year, but just as often he was caught on his heals on the pick-and-roll, or a step late in his rotations. He would go through long, languorous spells where he could not seem to summon the energy and intensity to compete with his peers in the paint. We saw this in his mercurial on-ball defense, and in his sporadic rebounding (his rebound rate of 12.3% put him 48th among NBA centers last year).

Some of this can be written off to poor conditioning, a by-product some 60 games worth of towel-waving in New York. Darko’s gray, rigor mortis-y death-grin was always a sure sign that the big guy was going through some torturous fatigue and that we might be in for one of his notorious one-shot/no-rebound quarters. But the reality is that even in his years as a rotation player for the Grizzlies and Magic, when he ought to have been at his fittest, Darko has never been even an average defender, shooter or rebounder (in his best year, ’08-’09, Darko was 33rd among centers in rebound rate, at 15.7%).

So we can hope–as Memphis, Detroit, Orlando and the Knicks all hoped–that Darko will one day live up to the promise of his immense gifts, will learn to attack the basket, to bring a measure of intensity to his defensive battles, to pursue rebounds with abandon. We can hope, in other words, that he will somehow, in his seventh NBA season, totally reinvent his game and remake his mental approach. But we Wolves fans know way too much about that kind of hope.

Miles of Smiles

Benjamin Polk —  June 26, 2010 — 11 Comments

Photo by harold.lloyd

Here are a few clarifying, explanatory, provocative notes from Friday’s media sessions with the Wolves new draftees, Wes Johnson, Lazar Haywood and Namanja Bjelcia, plus David Kahn and Kurt Rambis.

  • Its become clear that the Timberwolves have made re-signing Darko Milicic (and, to a lesser extent, Nikola Pecovic) a condition of trading Al Jefferson. “It’s the right time finally for us to explore this,” Kahn said. “I’ve met with Al and discussed this. If Darko comes back, there could be a need to create some playing time. We really need to get our front line settled.” This is slightly unsettling because it  suggests that Kahn and Rambis have calibrated their concept of “team need” around Darko’s presence. One wonders: did this factor into their decision to pass on Demarcus Cousins? I am now squirming in my chair.
  • Kahn predicted that sign-and-trades, rather than straight free-agent signings would dominate the landscape this summer. But, as Myles rightly points out, now that Rudy Gay seems to be off the table it’s not clear which free agents the Wolves might be pursuing. They could certainly attempt use Al to work a Chris Bosh sign-and-trade although I would think that Bosh’s first desire would be to just go wherever Lebron goes. After that, what’s left? Joe Johnson? Carlos Boozer? Amar’e Stoudemire? David Lee? Tyrus Thomas? Amir Johnson? Does any of this make sense?
  • Or might the Wolves simply save their cap room for next summer, when the Miamis, Chicagos and New Jerseys of the world have already chased their dreams and Carmelo, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Al Horford and Nene can all become free agents? The mind boggles.
  • Kahn adamantly rejected the premise that the Wolves needed to make dramatic changes in order to attract Ricky Rubio. “He’d like us to improve, but we all would,” Kahn said. “I think that what’s important to him is that he feels that he’s ready to play. And he feels that in a year he’ll be more ready to play. Anything else is just fluff.” Ok, then.
  • This from Kurt Rambis (a sentiment later endorsed by Kahn): “Last year was just what we had to do, business-wise. Now we’re starting to build a team. I’ve always considered this our first year. Last year was just a business year.” I guess we all kind of knew that already. Not sure how much business got done but it sure wasn’t much fun.
  • Also from Rambis: “Smart players don’t have a problem picking up any offense.” That’s a bold statement. But I feel like it explains a lot of what the Wolves are doing here. They clearly have put a premium on athletic players, like Johnson and Martell Webster, who also happen to be pretty sharp fellas. They may not be the ultimate in terms of pure individual skill but, I’m guessing this thinking goes, they’ll be able to find roles within the offense. They’ll be willing  and able to move the ball and move without the ball, to be in position to make plays and then to actually make them.
  • But still, commenter Mac makes a great point. Last season, the Wolves suffered from a desperate lack of shooting, athleticism and creativity on the wing. Johnson and and Webster take care of the first two but not the third. The team still badly needs a perimeter player who can (intelligently) create his own shot.
  • I was totally charmed by Johnson’s and Haywood’s giddiness and earnest enthusiasm. They seem like good dudes. I really hope they’re good basketball players.
  • Bjelica does not speak English well at all. We can only imagine how arduous an entire day spent in the company of strangers, in a country you’ve never before visited, answering questions in a language you barely speak must have been–particularly if those foreign strangers are your future employers. The kid looked sad-eyed and shell-shocked.

(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.