Nothing seems to get the fan base worked up more than debating the choice of Favors or Cousins at pick #3. So I thought it would make sense to preserve the conversation in a FanPost so that everyone will be on record. There is one guarantee. Looking back at this decision in a couple of years, some of us will be right and some of us will be wrong. I just happen to think I'm right about this. The #3 pick for the Nets (if not dealt away) should be Derrick Favors!!! Here's why:
When realization sunk in that the Nets were going to be historically bad, I started watching college basketball to scout the prospects. Lots of college basketball. Ultimately, I settled in on Kentucky because of all the talk about some young guy named John Wall who was a likely lottery pick. Wow! I had my hopes up so high on Lottery Night . . . but that's a different story. Anyway, I was really impressed this season by Demarcus Cousins. He has the goods to be a really, really good player. But I have my share of concerns:
1. Cousins is a 19-year old who already tips the scale at close to 300 lbs. Plus, it's reported that he's been placed on a diet to control his weight. Couple all of that with undisputed reports about his early refusal to buy in the Kentucky's training program . . . I think these are red flags. One combine report listed him at 294lbs. I have a hard time coming up with the names of talented big men not named Shaq who weighed in well over 300lbs and played well. Cousins is quickly headed in the 300+ club. There are plenty of dudes who have eaten their way out of the league and he could be one of them. And he's not 7'. At the combine he measured in at like 6'9" or so barefoot I think.
2. Cousins may be emotionally unbalanced. Let's not kid ourselves, the kid is a tad tempermental. No one denies that. It may be good, if he channels it. Or it may be bad. In large part, Coach Cal, Rod Stickland and the Kentucky coaching staff kept him under control, which is easier to do on the college level on a closed-in campus. What happens when Demarcus doesn't have that support system around him in the big-time world of the NBA? There's no one to baby-sit you in the pros. And if you're a bit unhinged, trouble will find you.
3. Cousins does not have the athleticism to play PF and I'd rather not use the #3 pick for a backup center. Cousins is not, and will not be a better all around player than Brook Lopez. So why use such a high pick for Brook's caddy? Don't feed me the line that Cousins can guard NBA PFs. Not happening. Any skilled athletic PF would have no problem beating Cousins off the dribble or stepping back and knocking down jumpers. I watched a ton of Kentucky games this year and while Cousins is formidible in the low post, he has hardly any elevation and his foot speed in guarding the perimeter is suspect.
4. Finally, all the reports confirm that Favors is a really high-character kid. The one consistent word you'll hear about him is "coachable." Combined with his work ethic and athleticism, I think he has the be the pick at #3. Favors is only 18 yrs old and at 250lbs will continue to grow into his frame. He has all the mental and physical tools to be an all-star caliber players. I'm pretty confident that you won't see Favors pouting on the bench when the going gets tough. The Nets need to change the whole mindset of the team with hardworking can-do players who are willing to improve individually and collectively.
So, upon reflection, I'm heavily leaning toward Favors, mostly because of Cousins' shortcomings, but also because I think Favors is the better long term prospect. My apologies to those I've offended by diss'n Cousins. It's not personal.