Throughout the offseason, we’ll be counting down the Top 50 players in the NBA from 50 to 1. Who will just miss the cut? Which names do you expect to see? Regardless, you’ll be able to find them all right here.
Why He’s Great: We talked about Boogie’s three-point shooting as a reason he is better than Klay Thompson. But, the fact that he makes three-pointers doesn’t say enough about him. What’s most interesting is how those three-pointers started happening.
Cousins never took more than 22 three-pointers in a season before 2015-16. Then, in 2015-16, he took 210. He saw a skill with increased importance in the modern NBA and decided to add it to his game. It took him one offseason to do that.
Very few human beings on Earth are more predisposed to basketball than DeMarcus Cousins is. His raw talent is utterly astounding. No team has yet found the key to fully unlocking that talent, but it’s worth noting that Cousins has played for two of the worst organizations in the NBA. If he winds up with the right coach and teammates, in an organization that knows how to support him, DeMarcus Cousins could be an MVP. There are only five or six players in the league at a time who that is true of.
Why He’s Below No. 17 (Rudy Gobert): Because the downside of having Cousins is just as great as the upside. The Kings have seemed relatively stable since he left. But when he was there, they were a complete tire fire. Cousins is moody and has anger-management problems that trickle down throughout an entire organization. His presence creates instability that a top-20 player shouldn’t. Having this caliber of player is supposed to be a banner to rally your entire team behind. Cousins’ presence played a big part in destroying the Kings.
Gobert is far more stable, but he’s also a fantastic basketball player in his own right. He is one of the three most valuable defensive players in the league along with Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard. He’s a better rebounder than Cousins as well. And, his offensive game has significantly improved since he joined the league.
It’s a question of preference. Would you rather have a player with more talent, but more risk? Or, one who does a few key things better than the more talented player and will gladly fit within the confines of a team? There’s not a universal answer, but the risk is just high enough with Cousins that the sure thing in Gobert wins out. For now.