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Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones, But Words Can Hurt My Draft Stock

If you missed today's live mock draft on ESPN featuring Chad Ford and Bill Simmons, you can still read the transcript.  Then you'll wonder why anyone would have followed it live for 4 hours.  And those of us who followed it live will readily acknowledge our error in judgment.  But during the mock draft, Chad Ford threw out the following gem:

"Tyreke is a special player, but he isn't easy to coach or play with. Pair him with Cousins and the other 10 guys on that team are miserable."  

Oh my.

A quick Google search for "Tyreke Evans uncoachable" brings up one article about Evans, several articles about Rajon Rondo, and a few articles about DeMarcus Cousins.  Being the crack journalist that I am, I trusted my instincts and read the article that was actually about Evans.  It told me:

Premiere players come into the game wrapped in the stereotype that they are uncoachable know-it-alls, kids who have been coddled and massaged for so long that they wouldn't take advice if John Wooden, James Naismith and Red Auerbach were serving together on a panel to offer it.

Followed by this:

But what Evans doesn't have is an attitude. He didn't pout or whine through his struggles, didn't blame his coach (though his coach would later take the fall for playing Evans out of position). He just tucked himself in a film room to review the painful edit of his Puerto Rico performance, took whatever withering criticism harsh-tongued Calipari could offer and got better.

Gosh, that sounds miserable.  How did the Kings get through last season with a malcontent like Evans on the roster?!

The article didn't exactly tell me anything new.  We've never read or heard anything out of the Kings locker room suggesting that Evans was difficult to coach or play with.  Not from teammates, not from Amick or Ailene or Jason Jones or Jerry Reynolds or TZ.  We haven't heard these thing from anyone in a position to actually inform us of such things.  So when Chad Ford said it, it didn't phase me much.

But those search results made me think about Rondo and Cousins.  Rondo was labeled as being uncoachable coming out of Kentucky.  Turns out he just didn't fit very well in Tubby Smith's system.  Rondo was labeled uncoachable again in Boston, and was rumored to be on the trade block.  Success, it seems, has made Rondo suddenly very coachable.

Oddly enough, Calipari and Cousins seem to be fine together.  Cousins considered staying at Kentucky to continue learning from Calipari.  Doesn't sound uncoachable to me.  These labels find themselves attached the players, and we completely ignore whether or not they seem to be based in facts.  Even though Brandon Roy was a 22-year-old rookie, Wes Johnson is 23 so you shouldn't draft him (personally I think Johnson is being rated too high, but for reasons beyond his age). 

Cousins could end up being a coaching nightmare, I have no idea.  But neither do any of the other draft experts.  We're all clueless, and we're filling idle time until tomorrow night.