By the time you read this, DeMarcus Cousins may already be a Laker. Perhaps he'll be a Celtic. Or maybe he’ll still be a Sacramento King.
We’ll analyze Draft-night moves for weeks to come. But if Cousins doesn’t end up in Boston, during a time in which Kings coach George Karl wants to get rid of him, then consider it a missed opportunity for the C’s and for anybody else who may not have been willing to give up the extra trade chip to finalize a deal.
I didn’t always feel this way about Cousins. I’ve been guilty of judging him from afar, questioning his personality, his attitude, and his maturity, to the point where I talked myself into believing he would be too much to handle for an organization that’s trying to get back to winning.
My intentions were good, and my criticisms were fair. But the numbers don’t lie. Cousins is an absolute beast. And while turning 25 in August, he’s only getting better.
Cousins averaged 24.1 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game in 59 games last season for the Kings, his fifth NBA season since being drafted fifth overall out of Kentucky in 2010. Nobody’s ever questioned the kid’s talent. And each year, his numbers continue to improve.
In a superstar league, the Celtics are currently looking for theirs. And Cousins will certainly be a perfect fit for that role, for any team, for years to come. Even if there’s still some baggage that comes along with it.
Sure, “baggage” is a strong word. But it’s not like Sacramento first started entertaining the idea of trading Cousins because he’s a bad basketball player. This trade is more about the person, not the player. And for the record, I think he’s worth the risk, whoever has him in their starting lineup to begin the 2015-16 season.
Now, a few months ago, I told you I didn’t want the Celtics to go near Kevin Love, because of his personality. But that’s a different story. Love — who opted out of the final year of his deal in Cleveland to become a free agent — seems too sensitive. His comments and reactions to social media posts from LeBron James just didn’t sit too well with me. I mean, maybe LeBron was right. Maybe he should have just tried to “fit in” after all. That would give him his best chance to win a championship next season.
But I’m not here to talk about Love. I’m here to talk about Cousins. And his biggest issue is a maturity issue. But as anyone who can remember being 24-years-old, it’s an issue that’s resolved over time.
Point is, I’m not sure Cousins is as much a project as the Sacramento Kings have made him out to be. Then again, I don’t watch the Kings on a nightly basis. But I’ve seen Cousins play many times. I've noticed his numbers improving year after year.
All I’m saying is, I’d be willing to take a chance with Cousins, if that’s even how we should be describing a trade for him.
Whoever does, won’t regret it.
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