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NBA Draft: Nets impressed by Cousins' perimeter game

Jun 21, 2010, 6:55 PM EST

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On Monday, top NBA forward prospects DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors both worked out for the New Jersey Nets, who hold the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft. Since John Wall and Evan Turner are virtual locks to go 1st and 2nd in the draft, the Nets’ selection may have more suspense surrounding it that any other pick. 
If the Nets are indeed trying to decide between Cousins and Favors, the dilemma is a familiar one come NBA Draft time: Cousins is the more polished product, particularly on offense, while Favors is the better athlete and can make more of an impact without the ball in his hands. (Cousins’ “character flags” add another dimension to New Jersey’s dilemma.)
According to ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan, Cousins was able to impress those assembled at the workout by unveiling his outside shot, which he rarely used during his time at Kentucky. Nets president Abe Polinsky was reportedly impressed by how comfortable Cousins looked shooting the ball out to 20 feet; with Brook Lopez on the roster, the Nets could very much use a 4 who can stretch the floor and give Lopez room to operate down low. 
If his mid-range shot is as good as advertised, Cousins could turn into a better version of Zach Randolph on his best days offensively; a low-post scorer with the ability to step out who uses his strength and touch to make up for a relative lack of explosiveness. However, Cousins reportedly weighed in at 289 pounds. With power forwards getting more agile, athletic, and perimeter-oriented by the year (before you call Pau Gasol a traditional banger, think of how he runs the floor),  can a 289-pound man be reasonably expected to keep up with opposing fours on a nightly basis?
Both Cousins and Favors come with real risks attached to them. There’s a real chance Favors will never become a quality offensive player, and an equally real chance that Cousins will never become a reliable NBA defender. If the Nets do end up choosing between Cousins and Favors, their decision may come down to which risk they’re more comfortable taking.
  1. The Dude Abides - Jun 21, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    “There’s a real chance Favors will never become a quality offensive player, and an equally real chance that Favors will never become a reliable NBA defender.”
    Then why are the Nets even considering Favors over Cousins if he can’t score AND he can’t defend?

  2. Craig W. - Jun 21, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    I think the 2nd occurrence of Favors name should be Cousins.

  3. The Dude Abides - Jun 21, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    I know, I just like to nitpick in a dickish way. My other pet peeve is when people type something like “Do you think Lebron will resign” when they actually mean “re-sign.”

  4. jerry25 - Jun 22, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    Abe Polinsky is not President of the Nets.
    It is Gregg Polinsky who is Director of Player Personnel.
    And I favor DeMarcus Cousins because 1. Nets also need a backup Center (13 minutes per game), 2. He is more NBA ready and a sure thing 3. He makes the Nets more attractive to LeBron James and 4. Nets wouldn’t have to spend as much for another Big from free agency since DeMarcus could play Big Minutes from the start.

  5. Nick - Jun 22, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    I think you have to go with Derrick Favors.
    With Brook Lopez on the roster, the last thing you need is another unexplosive, athletically challenged big man, who can’t play defense. That’s exactly what Brook Lopez is.
    Go for the athletic guy who can defend and play like a real 4.
    The Grizzlies have the exact same problem. Both Gasol and Randolph are excellent big men in their own right, and they worked well together for a bit, but they wore down, b/c together, they cant keep up with the more athletic big men in the league. And that’s with one of the most atheletic 3s in the league (Rudy Gay), who could really play the 4 position as well.
    And then, I dont even want to talk about the character issues. Modern sports has shown us time and time again that when there are obvious character issues, something bad always happens in the future.

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