DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky)
6'11, 290 lbs., C
The second most talented player in the draft, Cousins stock shifts depending on how the questions around his attitude and desire are answered by teams. Cousins was in check all season for Kentucky and showed dominance; especially during the 2nd half of the season. One thing that always lingers though is does he want it and can he keep it under control.
Offensively, Cousins is a load down low as he is able to post-up players and use his body to get lay-ups and his short turn-around jumpers. He also dominates the offensive glass using his size, strength, and wingspan. He has excellent agility and footwork for a man of his size and incorporates spin moves and solid handles into his offensive game.
However, Cousins does have some severe weaknesses offensively. One, he lacks great leaping ability and his shot can be blocked regularly. Two, he passes like Eddy Curry out of the post (that's not good for Bulls fans with short memories), so he can struggle in double team scenarios. Three, even though he has a solid jumper for a guy his size, he is a very mediocre free throw shooter. Finally, while he can set a great pick for shooters and penetrators, he struggles getting to the basket off pick-and-rolls.
Defensively, Cousins would fit best next to a four that is versatile in guarding swing fours and blocking shots leaving Cousins to occupy the lane with his wide body and long wingspan. Cousins best attribute defends the post well and plays excellent man defense against interior players using his size and strength. With his wide body, he should dominate the boards and jump start fast break opportunities. With his solid size and wingspan, he blocks shot surprisingly well for his size.
However, Cousins while solid at feet for a guy his size, will be exposed on the pick-and-roll as he is not quick enough to hedge screens. He will also struggle in guarding opposing big men that can play away from the basket. While surprisingly good at his size in blocking shots, he will not be able to as regularly in the NBA where the athletic bar is higher.
Right now, Cousins is hard to predict. If he maxed out and learned to control his temper, he could be one of the more dominating forces in the NBA with teams having to plan for him daily. However, he graded out with 16% body fat at the NBA draft measurements escalating concerns on his commitment. On top of that, it has been noted that he is a hothead who makes questionable decisions. Whomever drafts Cousins will have to have a coach that can set clear boundaries and know how to deal with his temper.
How does his game translate to the NBA?
Right now, his game translates very well physically, as he'll be one of the more physically imposing players in the NBA. However, there are many questions about his game, and I have serious concerns that he will reach near his full potential. I also question how good of a teammate he will be at the next level and if it will be cancerous.
Cousins is projected to go anywhere from picks 2-6, but teams are going to have to question if he is worth the risk for their team. In fact, due to questions surrounding his character, I would not be entirely surprised he if falls past pick 6, but I doubt that will be the case. Attitude and talent ability combined, he reminds me of a Zach Randolph, but taller and with even more potential. If drafted in top 3, I would not blame those teams either as the talent is there.