This is obviously something very intriguing and the decision could greatly impact the amount of success the Kings have in years to come and because frankly I'm tired of seeing the kings in the lottery on a yearly basis. (Alright, so i have broken this down into segments and this is a really long analysis as it is basically two parts on two separate players. I know the length of the thing will tune a lot of people out so i have decided to make this into a two and a half part kind of thing. Two long posts and a little piece on my final thoughts.)
So, who is the better pick? Well that is a tough question because these players are very different and contribute two very different things. The rule of thumb when it comes down to drafting players is not to draft on need but rather draft based on talent and that is what makes this a very difficult question to answer.
I want to start off by analyzing Cousins because the two most troubling stats that i see are that the Kings averaged 7.5 points off of tips and dunks and according to 82games.com, the kings had a hard time defending the froncourt of opposing teams. So, i will be taking a look at the King's needs at the center position and what kind of impact Cousins could have on this team
The worst thing about the team this year was that they decided to bench Thompson and started Landry which completely made no sense whatsoever. Landry's production as a starter dropped off then from when he came off the bench; how can you expect to develop your lottery picks if you aren't even going to give them a chance to grow? Now to make things even harder is that the kings least productive position of them all was the small forward position; the spot that Johnson will fill up. The Kings had a whooping 7.5 points off of tips and dunks, and let me tell, against a team like the lakers you will be begging for mercy as they came in 28th place in the paint (Ahead of only New Jersey and Golden State). A guy like DemarcusCousins could do wonders for you guys because he adds length, height, and strength and for a team who starts a perimeter playing-Spencer Hawes; you NEED a guy like cousins to help out on the boards and add an aggressive, physical inside post/ paint game. His physique is probably the best part about his game, at 6'11 and 292 lbs he is so strong that guys will be afraid of him; oh, and it is also good at getting 9.9 rebounds per game on the college level. He can go up in the air aggresively without really fouling enough allowing him to out muscle the opposition, kind of like how ron artest is when playing defense. I also really like a thompson/Cousins tandem, Jt can pass well and it makes it kind of like a Gasol/Bynum type thing, except JT isn't a softie like Gasol. In addition, Spencer Hawescoming off the bench adds depth to this thin rotation and in my opinion, 6th man is a perfect place to begin developing Spencer. What this does especially, is negate the effects of a tall league thanks to the Laker's triple towers; similarly, if the Kings wanted to go huge this lineup could work because this froncourt could hit their jumpers pretty efficiently. Likewise, the King's froncourt failed miserably, but those numbers can be misleading because JT and Hawes got injured so westphal had to do a little mix and match at the froncourt. Again, the flaw in all of this is that three position, but if the King's were to draft Cousins, Landry could effectively go back to the bench where his game is meant to be at and the Kings can start developing casspi by starting him at the the small forward position; casspi to me is shawn marion-lite and though he might not give the Kings as much spacing as Greene might, he does have the higher ceiling. . Now that, my friends, is a blessing in disguise.
So, what kind of effect does Cousins have on this team if he isdrafted? First of all, i want to make this especially clear: I want to talk about how much better of a better fit Cousins could be if Tyreke Evans can develop an outside game. Depending on how well Evans' game progresses this offseason, this potential draft could go from good to fantastic. I want to look at the fantastic side of it first. 'Reke had an outstanding rookie season and played the point guard position exceptionally well; I think of that to be a life-time accomplishment because his skill talent was compared to Larry Hughes. If Evans can develop his outside game and become a better shooter then he can better draw a double team and open up the lanes. What could make this even more effective is Jason Thompson's passing that could possibly lead to a high percentage shot known as a dunk. Being able to hit a jumpshot is key for a team that wants to space the floor and have better ball rotation, for this you will need to have guys who can not only shoot but pass and rebound. Passing is an essential quality because it can lead to the wide open player/better shot, rebounding is important because you might not always make your shots and getting an offensive rebound allows you to reset. Cousins immediately becomes the kind of risk and reward type player because it could make Geoff Petrie look better because he tried drafting a passing big man, and it makes Tyreke Evans look like a god because of his passing ability; all because Petrie took a risk and drafted a 292 pound player. Furthermore, Evans and Cousins could deliver a nasty but devastating Pick and Roll offense. Right now the thought of it might be grossing you out, but if you actually think about it, how many guys do you think will stand in the way of a guy the size of a car coming full speed at you? I mean just like how Lebronis not someone you want to mess with, you wouldn't want to make a three hundred pound man unhappy, now would you, Vlade? Now, add into the mix a rugged, physical, NBA-ready body, and you have you might be looking at a magnificent starting lineup, as i am pretty sure Evans' could produce John-wall esque numbers. This all simply based on Evans play in his second season as stated above, but i am confident Tyreke will be back next season eager to show people that he can shoot the three too.
Now it is time to look at what Cousins brings to the table by himself, individually. The Kings overall NBA defensive efficiency against other frontcourts was miserable;as they came in 28th place and a meek 27th place in defending the paint. They might have came in 16th place in overall NBA efficiency at the center position ,but they were 27th in overall NBA efficiency from the power forward position. Also on a little side note,their overall NBA efficiency from the small forward position ranked 19th; and that is why they are 28th in overall NBA efficiency from their froncourt . I know that to most of you this is a lot of statistical mumbo jumbo to most of you, but the bottom line is, the Kings sucked in the paint and defending it as well, and along the way their own offensive froncourt sucked too. I included the links so you could familiarize the woes in the Kings offense and defense, and a strong guy like Cousins who can take control of the paint and post could fix a lot of these problems by himself just by standing tall and being himself; just with a better attitude.
Now, I dont mean to reiterate, but how could you possibly expect to win more than 25 games when there are teams like LA, Orlando, and Cleveland that have such excellent frontcourts? How can Cousins possibly fix these problems? First, he is a fantastic rebounder and given that the Wildcats blew away many of their opponents away, Cousins didn't have to play all that much. He averaged 23 minutes a game while nearly putting up a double-double in each game with an average of 15.1 points and 9.9 rebounds. Given the circumstance, I think Cousins should continue being a great rebounder as long as he has a passion for the game and cuts back on his fouling. In the NBA there are a lot more possessions to be had and as such, Demarcus will have his part in more that just 10 shots a game they had. That takes care of any worries anyone might have had on his questionable offensive statistics in that he will be the official second go-to-guy. When taking into account that JT is also a fine rebounder they can work for one another in that, Jt boxes out, the defensive/offensive rebounder covers him while Cousins cheats off and grabs the rebound and visa versa.Therefore, i would be surprised if he didn't become a better rebounder in the NBA considering the amount of play time he will likely be given. That said, Cousins is aggressive and rough; essentially a bully, and teams need a guy that enforces the paint and can set hard screens. Being physical is especially key when playing elite teams because you need to have ice in your veins to put down the most formidable of opponents; much like how Kobe is clutch, it is a key aspect of the game. Now, the NBA might not allow you to be too aggressive, when it comes to the playoffs you need someone tough that is willing to commit a hard foul. If your remember the 09 playoffs, the Nuggets got to the conference finals because they were aggressive and weren't afraid of setting hard screens or using up a hard foul.
Now it is time to look at the downsides to the package that comes with the player Cousins. If any of you guys remember Derrick Coleman, there is the perfect comparison, a guy with incredible talents and special god-given ability but failed to utilize it; mostly due to excessive weight and attitude problems. Cousins cant shoot as well Colemann might have, but they are basically the same player in every other respect: attitude, weight, work ethic, determination, and passion. Colemann performed well in the first couple of years when he was drafted, but soon after that his career went down hill, and ever since he has gone bankrupt; like a lot of other, fat, eastern conference kind of guy, like Eddy curry. There are two big differences between Cousins and Coleman, one is the fact that Cousins wants to prove that he doesn't have attitude problems. He cares when people say that guy has a ton of red flags; Coleman was like "yeah, right, whatever, when do i get my next pay check and helping of chicken? The second one is a bit less obscure but i think it could make a difference; Coleman represented the East, meanwhile Cousins could represent the west with this pick, a more competitive conference with a lot more viable big men in it. In this era, there aren't a lot of guys that are 'true' centers so this could go either way. The way i see it is that the doubt he gets from other people motivates him and incites an unparalleled passion, and is something that he could tap into and develop sides to his game that were never thought possible. I liked cousins when he was in Kentucky and he looked like he was having fun,and that was mostly when he was winning; when he lost, well lets just say that is a different story.This potential filled player gives Sacramento something they lack: an inside presence, an enforcer/bully. Cousins is a player with an unbelievably high ceiling. Also try imagining this:Cousins loses a couple of pounds and becomes a faster, quicker player and also learns how to make his free throws. I said this before, if he could get the mobility that Amar'e has and the master touch Gasol has, his name could go down in history, and only in a positive way.