Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kings should look to Cousins if they want to win

The Sacramento Kings only can wish to get lucky enough to select DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth pick of Thursday's NBA draft.

If that opportunity arises, it's in part because of the ignorance of small-minded people.

People who are scared to deal with what they've heard or what they think they know. Cousins, 19, is acknowledged to be one of the top two or three most talented players available in the draft.

Yet, some observers believe at times he has anger issues and questions authority and even once (gasp!!!) as a 16-year had the audacity to defend himself when an adult challenged him and approached in a menacing manner.

At least, that's the way Cousins described the last situation. Personally, I believe him and also feel like it's cool to defend yourself when threatened.

Perhaps getting pissed off and questioning authority are disqualifications for bank clerk gigs or teaching in elementary school. For that matter, those qualifiers probably kill your chances of working for any insecure boss.

However, if the Kings or any other team really is trying to win, they'll look at Cousins' quick feet, huge hands, 7-foot-5 wingspan and willingness to compete and add him to the crew.

Cousins is a talented project. All 19-year-olds are projects. I know one, my son, without Cousins' talent, who has a good heart and basically is a good kid.

There are many 19-year-olds among us who legitimately deserve to be avoided - at all costs.

However, this young man doesn't appear to be one of them. Man, the kid never has been in trouble for what I can gather.

Cousins has special gifts, which means he requires special attention because he probably has special needs. Sorry, folks, but it often works like that. Look at the world in which we live.

Often times, those gifted in one department are lacking in another.

Listen to his agent, John Greig, talk about his client.

"He's never had any trouble with the law. He's never done drugs and he doesn't drink. He's got a great mother. The reason why he chose me was because I told him what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. John Calipari (Cousins' coach at Kentucky, with whom he had beefs on a occasion) is sitting at his table at the draft.

"DeMarcus is a 19-year-old kid from the country who has to decide if he's willing to pay the price to be a franchise player. That's the kind of talent he has. Does he want to work to do that? I don't know. I don't think we know that about any 19-year-old no matter what they say or think. Those are things you find out as they mature."

Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie said Tuesday it is highly unlikely his team will trade back. He's heard a few offers, but said of them, "nothing that will raise your blood pressure."

Of course, the draft is a day and some hours away, so Petrie's pressure still could be affected. Teams lying about their respective intentions is a way of life this time of year.

Most often, Petrie goes the opposite way. Perhaps he confides in his dogs. Since I don't speak "barkese," in 18 years, I've never been able to get him to spill any beans.

Drafting at No. 5, the Kings have to see how the fluidity of the previous selections are played. Petrie says his organization has "six or seven players we would feel reasonably comfortable taking."

Calipari called Cousins one of the most intelligent players he's ever coached. Cousins said Calipari told him if he wanted to make his coach's family rich, then stay in school. But if (Cousins) wanted to make his family rich, then turn pro."

Cousins does not have ridiculous rise and his ability to control his weight always will be a concern. Petrie had the late Kevin Duckworth in Portland, so weight issues are a particularly sensitive topic.

However, those who would like to see Cousins as a member of the Kings, can feel comfort in that Petrie is an independent thinker. He will not follow the crowd.

And as he said when asked about the detailed work-ups teams do on prospective draftees, "at the end of the day, it still comes down to trusting your gut."

Given the opportunity, let's see if the Kings will ride or die with new family - Cousins.

If the Kings ride anywhere with Cousins, they'll have to drive. The young man doesn't have a drivers license.

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