NBA Draft 2010: Will Detroit Pistons Play Roulette with DeMarcus Cousins?

Ryan McNishCorrespondent IJune 24, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Cornell Big Red during the east regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2010 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With the high risk, high reward buzz surrounding the Pistons’ seventh overall draft pick tonight, the city of Detroit is feeling more like the city of Las Vegas.

The Pistons' Palace has changed to Caesar’s Palace, and Joe Dumars looks like he is about to play a little draft roulette with Demarcus Cousins.

Cousins is a player with a lot of questions surrounding not only where he will go in tonight’s draft, but how he will end up as an NBA player.

The scale seems to be tipping in polar opposite directions, with his overall career already being projected for either baller or bust.

Nobody seems to be saying Cousins will end up as just “solid.”

Then again, has there ever been a top 10 draft pick to be called such?

The reasons for taking a gamble on Cousins, especially for Detroit, are incredibly apparent.

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He provides an outstanding presence both defensively and offensively in the center position—a place where the Pistons have been lacking assistance since “Big” Ben Wallace left a champion and came back a different man.

The reasons for questioning whether or not to make a run and take a chance on Cousins have nothing to do with his athletic ability, but more with his character.

Rumors are that he is a bit of a prima donna, slightly immature, and has a questionable work ethic.

The evidence for these issues is shown physically in the ever present and constantly talked about weight problem Cousins possesses at 6'11", 270 elbows.

Such weight coupled with such height is just as much an indicator of laziness as it is a precursor for disaster.

The disaster being that underneath all of those pounds, the knees to the tree that is Demarcus Cousins will inevitably fold, and probably sooner rather than later.

But make no mistake, the discussion of concerns surrounding Cousins doesn’t come down to whether or not his athletic ability is worth the possible problems that come with him--this is not a matter of cooperation.

It is a matter of deliberation, and whether or not his character concerns will spell the end of his career before it ever begins.

A debate not as to whether his character concerns will be vexing, but if they will get in the way of his playing ability altogether.

Will Cousins be the next Shaq or the next JaMarcus Russell?

And what should Joe-D do?

In this game of roulette that is becoming the seventh overall draft pick for the Pistons, the best thing to do is take the safe-bet.

The team isn’t a center away from being a playoff contender.  They are not missing one piece to the puzzle.

This Pistons are in the middle of a complete and total over-hall.

Mostly due to the choices of Dumars in the past: four coaches in five years, the largest decrease in attendance in the entire NBA, and a free agent signing in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva that could inevitably be as bad a pick up on Dumars’s record as the infamous Darko-gate scandal.

Coupled with this is the fact that most of the key role-players who hold this team together are going to be in their mid-30s in a few years.  Thus, the process of rebuilding now, and young, is becoming ever more present.

On top of it all, in tonight’s draft there is no telling whether or not Cousins will even be available, which has left room for many to speculate that Detroit will trade up to get him.

If the Kentucky center isn’t at the No. 7 spot, then Dumars has said the following course of action will be taken: “If we end up with the seventh pick, we’ll get a good player, and I’ll be OK with him.”

But “OK” for a seventh overall draft pick on a team with multiple needs doesn’t cut it.

Before the Pistons are on the clock, Dumars should have a decent deal in place to trade down from the seventh overall pick in order to either grab a couple of decent veterans, or stock up on some much needed draft picks.

Don’t count on it though.

Dumars isn’t looking to produce a great team a couple of years down the road.

He’s looking to make an immediate impact on the floor—both for the sake of the team and the sake of his job.

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