DeMarcus Cousins is a child. He is a child as much as he is a knucklehead. He is a knucklehead as much as he is a pain in the ass. He is a pain in the ass as much as he is a legit NBA talent. He is a legit NBA talent as much as he is a giant head case. He is a giant head case as much as he is still a child. Thus, we have the complex inner workings of DeMarcus Cousins.
We know this after one full season in the NBA. We knew this while he was at Kentucky. We knew this when he was in high school. And it seems to be a safe bet that people knew this during his AAU and grade school days.
Someone with a temper, oft never loses such aggression and anger. Someone with a “what about me” attitude, oft never loses such self-destroying thoughts. That is, until they meet their match. The one person that challenges them all the while getting the most from them
Nothing has changed in Sacramento for Cousins, and it will more than likely never change in Sacramento for Cousins.
But that’s not to say it won’t change elsewhere. That’s not to say it can’t change in Philly. That’s not to say Doug Collins can’t be the man that gets through to Cousins (as uneasy as that may be).
Cousins is one of the most divisive young talents in the NBA. He also is one of the youngest players in the league with the highest talent-ceiling. His unique combination of size, age, ego, and strength is a pool of unparalleled talent that NBA big men dream of. He holds an arsenal that his NBA brethren loathe. A repertoire that so many like him, would kill for.
At what point does that all click for DeMarcus? At what point does he drop the “poor me” attitude? At what point will he mature and figure it all out?
The only person that can answer that is DeMarcus, but what could push that realization along is a change of scenery. This is a strange phenomenon that has granted zealous and extremely unhappy players “new life”. But, at the same time, for every Zachary Randolph there is a Stephon Marbury. For every future All-Star in a new arena, there is a cancer cell that destroys every locker room he’s traded to.
I think DeMarcus will follow what I like to call the “Z-Bo Trajectory”. For those that may not understand, Z-Bo was on a slippery slope while in the newly acclaimed “Lob City”. His father passed away, he was suspended after being arrested for drunken driving, suspended for punching a Phoenix player, and had been suspected to enjoy smoking the reefer. He needed to get out of L.A. He needed to start over. Start anew. He needed to shed the weight that comes along with being a professional basketball player in the bright lights of California; both physically and mentally. He was then traded to Memphis, where he was selected for his first NBA All Star Game. He went beast mode. He dominated games. He was an MVP candidate. Oh, and he got a four year contract extension; $66 million worth, guaranteed.
Cousins needs to find his Memphis. He needs to be removed from the cellar dweller Kings that will never offer the sense of structure a young talent like him needs. He needs to be exorcised from the continual threats and rumors of moving. He needs to head to a place of continuity and discipline. He needs to play for a coach that has experience dealing with big men and wouldn’t mind managing a personality as big and complex as DeMarcus’.
7-6, your future big man is waiting.
Yes, I realize new owner Josh Harris and his team of intelligent and rich basketball minds want to change the average fans idea of the team. Yes, I realize trading for DeMarcus Cousins would seem to counteract this idea. But sometimes you have to take a chance on a guy or two. And often that chance turns into perennial playoff appearances, a new pride in the community, and the raising of a banner.
Ask Dennis Rodman.
Still, I realize this move would more than likely be scolded by Philly fans who I can already hear mumbling, “Same ol’ Philly team, same ol’ thug basketball”.
I say to those naysayers, pipe down with your Allen Iverson hating ways. This move has a massive upside. An upside you just don’t get every day.
In Cousins, you get a guy that averages 14.1-points per game. He adds 8.7-rebounds, 2.5-assists, and .8-blocks. All of that in his first season in the NBA. All of that as a 20-year old.
Standing at 6-11, he is 270-pounds of pure havoc.
Still think it’s a bad move? Then, riddle me this-who you would rather have, Cousins’ and his stat line or this mystery player?:
A 32-year old veteran who has averaged 18.8-points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.4-assists, and 1.9 blocks in his long career; averaging about eight minutes more per game than Cousins. He’s been known to have few major injuries that kept him from playing and a body that is on the verge of breaking down.
You’d take the 21-year old. Every time.
The 32-year old is current Sixer power forward, Elton Brand.
What’s astounding is that there is not much difference in those lines. Fine, there may be a bigger pool of stats to go off of with Brand that would insist he is the better option; but Brand does not have much time playing the type of basketball we are used to seeing from him. He is getting old and his body type, compared to other NBA alumni with similar structures, would argue that after the age of 32, they start to show their age. They start to become a problem.
The Sixers could trade Brand for Cousins straight up, right now (a deal that works on ESPN’s Trade Machine). There would more than likely have to be a pick or cash considerations in the deal, but it would be worth the add-in as you don’t stumble on a talent like Cousins every day.
For the advocates of keeping a draft pick, with the Sixers looking as though they will be selecting players in the upper half of the draft because they will be a perennial playoff team (yes, I said it, a perennial playoff team), is a late first round prospect bring as much as Cousins does to the hypothetical table?
With Brand’s minutes and the likes of Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Evan Turner’s, and Iggy’s ability to provide a consistent offense, Cousins could be a monster for the 7-6. Oh, and don’t forget about the coaching staff and their persistence to get the most of their players. Lou Williams is playing out of his mind and Spencer Hawes is finally being the center Philly fans were hoping for; both of which were two players without much real fan expectation going into the year.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think Doug Collins couldn’t get through to Cousins. The kid needs continuity, and if there is one thing the Sixers have made clear, “continuity” is exactly what they are building on. That is their motto. That is their bread and butter. That is what is going to get them to the second round of the playoffs and so on.
With the addition of Cousins, the Sixers would have a cast of 12-players under the age of 28 (11 under the age of 25) on their roster.
Continuity? I’d say you’ve found it, right next to the Fountain of Youth.
So, I guess my question to Philly fans is: would you rather move forward with a big man whose stat line will decrease drastically in the next two years, or sign a 21-year old trouble youth, whose upside, potential, and undeniable talent can possibly give the 7-6 an undeniable surge of young talent that will come in handy come time for the playoffs?
I’ll take the 21-year old head case every single time. But I would also love to go to a casino with Allen Iverson and go for a bike ride with Delonte West.
Life on the edge is much more fun.