The NBA draft is two days away and only the top two picks are set. DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors just did battle in New Jersey to lay claim to the third overall pick, and TheRookieWall.com breaks them down in our next-to-last installment of "Who Ya Got?"
The Case for Derrick Favors — Forward/Center, 6' 10", 245 lbs
What is there not to like about Derrick Favors? He gives a team a great frame that will allow him to play both the four and five spots in the NBA, and he’s the youngest prospect in this year's draft at only 18 years of age.
Although coming into the league at such a young age certainly has its risks, as evidenced by Michael Beasley's struggles, it can also bring great reward like in Kevin Durant's case.
Off the court, Favors resembles Durant with a good head on his shoulders and a great group of people around him.
Coming out of high school as one of the top recruits can be tough on a player. Favors wowed us in high school, especially in one regular season game where he had 42 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 blocks. Performances like that led him to being named a McDonald’s All-American, and he also was named the MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game.
Yes, high school success is certainly not a telltale indication for NBA success, but he absolutely was a man among boys in high school, and his frame suggests he will be able to play with the elite in the NBA.
Deciding to take his game to the ACC and play with Georgia Tech, Favors had an impressive freshman year with the Yellow Jackets. Averaging 12 points and eight rebounds a game, while shooting an impressive 61 percent from the field, was a nice first impression. Not to mention he won the ACC Rookie of the Year award.
The uber athletic and intelligent Favors is a very imposing figure down low. He moves very well for a big man, and is a very hard worker. From a physical standpoint, Favors posted eerily similar numbers at the combine to Dwight Howard, and we all know how he has panned out. Favors is similar in size to the new Superman, so you can also expect him to play at the five in the NBA, which will allow flexibility for any team that drafts him.
The knocks on Favors are his limited offensive game and outside shooting ability. However, the kid is only 18 and didn’t start playing basketball until the age of 10 after he saw Kobe Bryant play. Therefore, there is a lot more to his game that has yet to be developed, which means his best years are far ahead of him.
To some this means he’s a project, but in reality he’s physically ready to contribute next year, with superstar potential down the line. Remember, Howard’s offensive game was limited solely to dunking on people when he came into the league, and look where that alone has taken him and the Magic.
Favors gives a team much more versatility than DeMarcus Cousins. DeMarcus is a bigger body that many believe will be limited to playing the five in the NBA. Even if he sees minutes at the four, he’ll struggle against players like Amare, who is more athletic, or Boozer, who will take him outside and make him defend the pick and roll.
Cousins also has weight issues (sporting a slimmed 292 lb version of himself) and could definitely afford to lose more to get into ideal playing shape. Then there’s the obvious: his maturity and attitude. He lacks the maturity and mental toughness that Favors possesses, often seen arguing with John Calipari on the sideline. For a young team at the top of the draft that could mean trouble.
With the No. 3 overall pick going to the New Jersey Nets, many Nets fans were let down as they saw their future with John Wall disappear right before their eyes. However, the Nets shouldn’t be too disappointed as they will likely land Favors at the spot.
With Wall and Turner likely off the board with the first and second picks, Favors would fit nicely with the Nets. His athleticism and versatility will allow the Nets to put Brook Lopez and Favors on the floor at the same time, something they definitely couldn’t do with Cousins.
Who knows, we may end up seeing Favors breaking the streak of coach Cal's Rookie of the Year winners.
The Case for DeMarcus Cousins — Center, 6' 11", 290 lbs
If there is one player who will change the complexity of the 2010 NBA Draft, it’s DeMarcus Cousins, the freshman big man out of Kentucky. In his only season of college basketball Cousins won the SEC Freshman of the Year over his teammate and friend John Wall. He averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in only 24 minutes per game. Many thought that he would be a consensus top-five pick, but with just two days until the NBA Draft that is no longer a certainty.
As impressive as Cousins was on the court, he was equally as distracting off of it. The feuds with head coach John Calipari were well-documented, and have led many to question Cousins' character, drawing comparisons to Derrick Coleman and Zach Randolph along the way.
Upon declaring for the draft Cousins made a unique decision, spurning the large agencies that wished to represent him for John Grieg, an agent whose only other NBA client was Pops Mensah-Bonsu. The smaller agent has only allowed Cousins to work out for a limited number of teams, including Sacramento, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Detroit.
Despite Cousins' attitude issues, his talent as a player is unquestioned. He possesses an NBA ready body standing 6’ 11” and just under 300 pounds. His body fat is bordering on too high at roughly 16 percent, but by all accounts Cousins has worked into better “playing shape” and is still possessing above-average athleticism for a person his size. His wingspan is just under 7’ 6”, which is good for second in this draft class, and this allows him to block shots and pull in rebounds that appear to be out of his reach.
The physical profile is impressive and allows Cousins the ability to create space on the offensive end and hold players out of the post on the defensive end.
Beyond his physical stature Cousins possesses an incredibly high skill level. He has soft hands that allow him to catch the ball in the post. Once he catches the ball he has an advanced post game for a 19-year-old. His footwork is very impressive, wasting little movement and using a spin and drop step to get his shot off nearly at will against college level defenders.
There is some question as to whether Cousins will be able to get the same deep position in the NBA, but we’re confident he’ll be able to contribute on the offensive end in his rookie year.
Beyond his ability in the post, Cousins shows promise as a player who can make some mismatches on the perimeter. While he didn’t have the opportunity to show it much at Kentucky, he does have the ability to put the ball on the floor and knock it down out to 15 feet. This could allow him to see minutes at the power forward, which could make him an even more intriguing prospect than if he only plays the center position.
When it comes to rebounding, Cousins is as good as any player in the lottery. He uses his body to position himself, and then his long wingspan to haul in any ball in his vicinity. The questioning of his attitude doesn’t extend to his motor as he works hard in big moments and thrives as evidenced against Mississippi in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.
In what is widely considered a two-player draft, the debate has turned to which big man will come off the board third, Derrick Favors or Cousins. When comparing the prospects, Cousins is certainly the more NBA-ready prospect. He possesses the build to be an impact player at both ends starting in his rookie year, while Favors will likely need two or three years to contribute.
With the Nets needing to appear as contenders to lure a free agent, Cousins is the logical choice. Despite what many are saying we can see Lopez and Cousins as a twin towers-like force, both having the ability to score on the block and change the game with their defense. Yes, any team that takes Cousins is running a risk with his attitude, but his talent is too much to deny, which is why the Nets should take him third.
Despite the fact that I believe Cousins is the better choice at number three and arguably at number two for the 76ers, his draft night may last a touch longer. With Wesley Johnson locked into the fourth spot, there is rampant speculation that Cousins could be the name that falls on draft night.
This talk is premature as I firmly believe that if the Kings keep the number five pick, and if Cousins is still on the board, they have to take him based on his talent. He and Tyreke Evans already know each other through Calipari, and putting him in a front court with Jason Thompson would give them a great young core to build around.
However, should the Kings pass and go with Greg Monroe, the Warriors have vowed to take Cousins according to some reports, despite Cousins' alleged rejection to play for the team. The brief description of how the top six could play out tells you that we are in for one long crazy night on Thursday.
For Complete Draft Coverage visit TheRookieWall.com!
Previous "Who Ya Got?":
- Sherron Collins vs. Mikhail Torrance
- Derrick Caracter vs. Dexter Pittman
- Gani Lawal vs. Craig Brackins
- Dominique Jones vs. Jordan Crawford
- Larry Sanders vs. Daniel Orton
- Quincy Pondexter vs. Devin Ebanks
- Willie Warren vs. Terrico White
- Avery Bradley vs. Eric Bledsoe
- Ekpe Udoh vs. Hassan Whiteside
- Greg Monroe vs. Ed Davis