As always seems to be the case during this time of year, draft rumors are swirling faster than a twister in Kansas.
Some of the rumors are meant as a means of misdirection, a way for teams to bluff each other into making foolish deals.
Some rumors are ridiculous and should be discarded as quickly as they are heard.
However, some rumors may have a nugget of truth to them. These are the rumors that tend to stick around longer than others. This is why we will continue to hear the "LeBron James to Chicago" rumor all summer and why we heard the "Carlos Boozer to Detroit" rumor all last year.
On Saturday, there was a report in the New York Daily News that said that Detroit Pistons team president Joe Dumars was interested in making a deal to move up to get former Kentucky power forward DeMarcus Cousins.
While it is too early to tell what type of rumor this is, Pistons fans should be thinking the same thing—please let this be a bluff.
At face value, Cousins may seem like a good pick. He has size, strength, and a decent post game. He is young, but he has the physical tools to potentially contribute right away.
So why not make a move for Cousins?
At What Cost?
First, a move like this will be costly. Cousins is projected as the top front court prospect, and therefore could go anywhere in the top five. Given the teams drafting, it is a safe bet to assume that he will not fall past Sacramento at number five, and he could go number two to Philadelphia.
A move into the top five of the draft would, at the very least, cost Detroit their second round pick. Given all the holes on this team, the second round is valuable real estate, especially a pick in the early second round where Detroit is slotted.
Sure, Dumars has had a terrible track record with his lottery picks, but he has been brilliant with second rounders. Jonas Jerebko, Memo Okur, and Amir Johnson were all second round picks by Detroit, and all started games last year (albeit Okur and Johnson started for other squads).
While the first round is thin at point guard (a huge position of need for Detroit), the second round is flushed with plenty of players that could compete right away for the starting gig (Scottie Reynolds, Courtney Fortson and Ben Uzoh amongst others). If Detroit deals away this pick, it is likely to come back and bite them in the end.
Another possibility could be trading a future second rounder, but Detroit likely will not be a playoff team again next year, meaning that they would likely be in the same position they are in now.
Yet another possibility could involve Detroit dealing a player to move up. This would undoubtedly lead to the Pistons being forced to take back another player, likely one with a bad salary. So say Detroit works out a deal with Sacramento to trade Tayshaun Prince for the number five pick. They would likely be forced to take back bad contracts like Beno Udrih and/or Andres Nocioni.
Have Plate, Will Travel
Secondly (and most importantly), Cousins is the wrong guy for this team. Sure, he has size, but he also has a considerable amount of red flags attached to him.
I have been telling anyone that will listen that this kid has bust written on his forehead, and recent reports that he showed up to the Chicago pre-draft workouts in horrible shape only add to that feeling. There have been reports that Cousins weighed in at just under 300 lbs and had a body fat percentage over 16.
According to the Golden State Warriors blog Golden State of Mind, Warriors sources compare Cousins to Benoit Benjamin, a center that essentially ate himself out of the league after being drafted number three overall in the 1980's.
Personally, I think this kid has Derrick Coleman written all over him, with the eating potential of Shawn Kemp.
Perhaps I am making a mountain out of a mole hill here, but why would a player let themselves balloon up right before they are scheduled to get poked and prodded by NBA executives who hold millions of dollars in their wallets? It's not like the NCAA season ended six months ago. Cousins' last game was just over a month ago. That kind of eating takes real effort.
The fact is, this shows a lack of maturity that borders on laziness. What happens when his first NBA season ends and he has six months to kill and enough money to buy the really expensive treats?
Besides his weight issues, I see a real issue with Cousins' game. He seemed to freeze up in the big games, especially during the NCAA tournament. In their loss to West Virginia, Cousins looked aloof and somewhat scared, especially when he went to the line.
Despite the fact that he played for a stacked offensive team consisting of great perimeter players, Cousins seemed to disappear for minutes at a time, leaving his teammates to fend for themselves. Mid way through the second half, teammate John Wall began force-feeding the big man, and Cousins seemed content shooting fadeaways. With his size, and West Virginia's lack thereof, he should have dominated the boards and attacked the hoop.
Obviously, this is just one game, but it was the most important game of the season and Cousins was nowhere to be seen.
Other Options Abound
Lastly, Detroit is not without options besides Cousins. If Dumars wants to move up, move up and grab Derick Favors, a power forward that could be as good as Antonio McDyess before the injuries.
If Dumars wants to move down, he could potentially package the pick and grab a veteran or maybe another second round pick. And as I have stated before, he could make a move on Chris Paul, who (mark my words) may be available.
The most likely scenario involves Dumars staying put at number seven. Even this is better than moving up for Cousins. The players that likely will be available at number seven include Greg Monroe, Ekpe Udoh, Hassan Whiteside, and potentially the best of the group, Ed Davis.
Each of these players is big, but has a flaw of some sort. Monroe is a polished offensive player, but he seems soft on the boards and lacks elite athleticism. Udoh is a great defender, but may be a project on offense. The same goes for Whiteside, although he is bigger and longer. Davis took a step back last year, and needs to add bulk.
However, Davis reminds me a lot of Favors, and could be the steal of the lottery. He plays hard, crashes the boards, and has elite athleticism. Comparisons to Amir Johnson will definitely come out, but Davis has the benefit of two years in college at an elite program (North Carolina).
Regardless, the rumors will continue to blow. Hopefully the "Cousins to Detroit" rumor will die out over the Midwest and harmlessly pass by.