The Lakers are said to want DeMarcus Cousins, but they don’t have anything to give the Sacramento Kings in return, except either Julius Randle (last year’s 1st round pick) or this year’s #2 pick. The Kings say Cousins, who averaged career-bests of 24.1 ppg and 12.7 rpg, isn’t on the trading block, but Marc Stein of ESPN says the Lakers have had talks about him, anyway.
Cousins only turns 25 in August, and appears to be entering his prime. He also put up career-bests of 3.6 assists per game and 1.8 blocks per game in his 5th year in the league.
Is Kobe Bryant clamoring for Cousins? Are the Lakers excited about the thought of two beefy Kentucky stars on their frontline for the next 6-7 years? I’m not sure I’d do this, even though Cousins ranked 9th in the NBA in PER last year, ahead of Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol, among other big men.
I’m one of the few NBA guys on twitter who just can’t get that excited about DeMarcus Cousins. Maybe I haven’t watched him enough. Maybe my first impressions – the attitude, the technicals, the battling refs – are still fresh in my mind. I didn’t think it’d be smart for the Knicks to trade for him – though that changes now that they have the 4th pick, and not the 2nd – and I’m not sure I’d take Cousins over Jahlil Okafor.
Maybe it’s the winning thing? He’s never sniffed the playoffs in Sacramento – I know, they’ve gone through a ton of coaches and players in his five seasons – but he was also on the Kentucky team that lost to West Virginia in the Elite 8. Maybe in the East Cousins would be good enough next year to lead a team to the playoffs, but in the West? I just don’t see it at all.
And I do think in five years, I’d rather have Okafor at age 24 than Cousins at 29. I’m sure many would disagree, but I think you can build a contender around Okafor quicker than you could Cousins. Is Cousins attracting double teams in the post? If the answer is yes, why is Sacramento only attempting 16 three-pointers a night (28th in the NBA)? Is Cousins a post-player version of Kevin Love – good player on a bad team putting up huge stats?
I think fairly early as a rookie, Okafor will warrant double-teams, which in theory will open up the shooters the Lakers don’t yet have. I think he should easily be able to post similar rookie numbers to Cousins: 14.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg. They’re both roughly the same size (6-foot-11, 270+ pounds, though Cousins measured at 292 pounds at the NBA Combine in 2010).
Would the Lakers – specifically Kobe – rather have a young inside stud entering his prime, or the 19-year old Okafor, who was pegged as the No. 1 pick in the draft from the start of the college basketball season through February?