College, NBA, NBA Draft / Mar 1, 2010 / 10:15 am

Dime NBA Draft Profile: DeMarcus Cousins

With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So before March Madness takes over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro will be profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. Last week was Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson, so now we’re on to Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins.

Player Comparisons: Al Jefferson, Zach Randolph and Andray Blatche

Athleticism
DeMarcus Cousins is not meant for an uptempo team. He’s not going to amaze you with his athleticism, especially when it comes to movement. Conditioning and quickness are most definitely Cousins’ biggest weaknesses. Every time the guy has to switch directions or run the floor, he has a pained expression on his face. Cousins could stay in the game if he had better conditioning too. Aran Smith, founder of NBADraft.net, recently showed us how this has an impact on Cousins’ stats. Smith said that while DC is averaging 16.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, his stats are particularly impressive considering he gets those numbers in limited minutes (22.4 mpg). His per 40 minutes numbers are a staggering 28.8 ppg and 18.0 rpg. While all of this may sound awful, Cousins does have one great athletic attribute and that is his coordination. He has great body control and can shoot the ball well for someone who is 6-11. His strength has also never been in doubt when he is backing out opponents in the paint.
Grade: B-

Fundamentals
It is rare nowadays that you find a big man with good post moves in college. It is even more rare to find a big man with the array of post moves that Cousins possesses. Get him the ball anywhere on the court and a majority of the time, he will score. He has great footwork and knowledge of how to get the ball in the basket. He has NBA three-point range along with some decent ball-handling skills. Not only can he score at will, he knows how to position himself to grab both offensive and defensive rebounds. While he does average a good amount of blocks per game (1.7), he tends to be out of position often times. This is the reason why Cousins averages 3.2 fouls per game. Once Cousins gets a better understanding of team defense, he should become a great defensive player.
Grade: A-

NBA Readiness
Someone in the Dime office suggested that DeMarcus Cousins should stay in college next year, and I have to agree. While on talent alone he could be a high lottery pick, Cousins does not have the mental capacity to become an NBA player yet. Ever since his days in high school, Cousins’ personality has been in question. People often question his work ethic and temper. As strange as this may sound, scouts were saying the same about Blake Griffin when he was in high school. Take a look at Griffin’s work ethic now and you’d be amazed that he was ever lazy at one time. If Cousins could prove that he is willing to work hard, he could make the jump this year.
Grade: C+

Potential
Due to his lack of athleticism, Cousins’ potential is slightly limited. While we would love to see Cousins develop a good work ethic, one can only improve their athletic ability so much. However, it is always rare to see an inside-outside big man in college who can dominate as a freshman. Depending on whether Cousins has attitude problems in the League or not will determine what type of player he turns out to be. In worst case, he could be like an early-career version of Zach Randolph on the Jail Blazers. In a best case scenario, he could be like an Al Jefferson with more of a swagger.
Grade: A-

Best Fit: Houston Rockets
Carl Landry was sent to the Kings, Yao Ming is still recovering from foot injuries and Luis Scola has an expiring contract. It is a guarantee that the Rockets will need a big man next year. Aside from a great opportunity for playing time right away, Cousins has another great opportunity to learn from his teammates. Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier and Jared Jeffries could teach him about the importance of defense and how to utilize his length. They have a slow-tempo offense in which Cousins would thrive in. Since Cousins and Yao have similar offensive styles, and coach Rick Adelman has been known for coaching great inside-outside threats such as Chris Webber, this team is nearly perfect for Cousins. It is a place where he can contribute right away, yet develop his skills as he goes on.

Runner-Up: New Jersey Nets
The Nets could use just about anything right now, but a power forward is filling a need. Imagine putting Cousins next to Brook Lopez on the block. Not many frontcourts could defend against that duo. Cousins could develop with a great deal of playing time in New Jersey and bring back memories of Derrick Coleman in his prime. In the event that he does land in New Jersey, let’s hope that this DC has a better attitude than his predecessor.

What do you think?

Dime NBA Draft Profile: John Wall
Dime NBA Draft Profile: Evan Turner
Dime NBA Draft Profile: Wesley Johnson

*Also, be sure to check out Lucas’ latest podcast as he got up with NBA and New York legend Kenny Anderson.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

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  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    LMAO@ Cousins = “memories” of Derrick Coleman.

    Other than being 6’11, brownskin and having the same initials, they are light years away from eachother. Coleman would have been the best PF all-time with his skill set. He was the most gifted PF ever with size/quickness/strength/range/handles/vision/defense DC used to be that dude that no other Pf wanted to f^k with. Then he got lazy.

    Cousins is pure garbage. and will be the next Kendrick Perkins at best and Sheldon Williams at worst. Can’t wait to see him in the L. I’d be suprised if he could last past the first contract.

  • http://dime AdvancedMind

    What the fuck do you guys watch? Serously, you must not have ever seen Derrick Coleman play? He had one of the sickest handles for a BIGMAN, passing ability, post moves and a jumper. Basically was Lamar Odom with more weight.
    Cousins in no way shape of form has any and i repeat ANY of the skill set that would allow him to do shit Derrick Coleman could do…
    Please just stick to the John Wall taint hyping, i mean i can live with some of the stupid shit people say about him, but to say Cousins “An Unathletic Out of shape Bigman” is even on a Skill level of these other players you mention, is just pure FALSE…
    @ Chicagorilla, Perkins is a great comparison… Jerome James work for me as well.

  • shake&bake

    I’m not sold on Cousins being anything above average in the NBA. There’s nothing that stands out about him to me other than his strength, which won’t be as big of an advantage for him in the NBA.

  • Shakers

    Zach Randolph seems like a great comparison to me. He could turn into a very good low post scorer, but has so many issues that the talent may never come through in the League.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    I said this before and I’ll say it again: Cousins at best will be Kendrick Perkins and at worst Kwame Brown. Actually he’s also my pick to be the first player from the 2010 draft class to be arrested.

  • Jayo

    Cousins is the next Eddy Curry.

    Average athleticism – Check
    Questionable work ethic – Check
    Questionable attitude – Check
    Decent post moves – Check
    Thinks he’s much better than he really is – Check

    Only different is Cousins just rebounds better.

  • Leroy Shonuff

    ummm…kendrick perkins…naw…kwame brown…naw…jerome james…naw…eddy curry…at worst… zach randolph…yes
    I like cousins but he needs another year. This is why a 2 year limit is needed. Him and Beaseley would be so much better with another year of college. Their is one thing to kill in ya first year of college, but do it again with coaches studing ya game and you being the big man on campus and all that that brings.

    Good skill set on him tho. Needs to get in shape. Houston, Utah(knicks pick) all seems like good places for him to go. I would like to see Jerry Sloan get his hands on him maybe then he would be a monster. Just imagine if Zach Randolph was 6’11 and not 6’7…if not he will be eddy curry. No d but can score.

  • eazy yeezy

    this guy has bust written all over him. he very well could be eddy curry’s illegitimate child.

  • Phil B

    lots of haters here… he’s gonna be much better than anyone here thinks he will be. but yeah, an extra year of college would be beneficial.

  • http://www.innoutnba.com Lucas Shapiro

    Thank You everyone for commenting on my article.
    I’m just curious about one thing… Why is everyone comparing him to Perkins? If anything, he’s the opposite! Sure, they are both good rebounders, but Perkins cannot shoot at all! Cousins more offensive potential than Perkins ever will have. Then on defense, Cousins may never be the defender that Perkins is right now.
    I just don’t see it. Can anyone explain this to me?

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Wow, I’ve never seen so much defense for D Coleman! Haha not what I expected

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Lucas,

    There was a time when Perkins was once thought of as an offensive threat coming out of high school and look at him now. The reason for the comparison is because Demarcus has such a limited offensive repertoire when compared to most NBA big men.

    He over powers undersized college athletes right now and thats how he gets most of his points. He lacks the footwork(Al Jefferson),jumping ability (Dwight), or a soft touch (Jamison) and that will limit him offensively in the NBA against taller more athletic centers(he’s waaaay too slow to play PF in the L by the way). I’m not picking on him, but he is just over hyped right now. He also lacks the mental toughness and work ethic (as evidenced by his body and situations he’s gotten into at UK) to overcome any of these faults.

    Also, you compared him to young Derrick Coleman. Young Derrick Coleman was on his way to legendary status. Go check out his Youtube clips and you’ll see the difference. OLD Derrick Coleman is more along the lines of what Cousins would be. The only thing they really have in common is attitude problems.

  • Jay Jay

    so much Derrick Coleman love going on here!!!