Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

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Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:57 pm

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By: Andrew Perna

Dec 30, 2012 1:17 PM EST

DeMarcus Cousins has lasted more than two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, but his time with the organization appears to be over for all intents and purposes. He was suspended indefinitely by the team last week -- the ban lasted two games -- and trade rumors that were already present intensified in the wake of the latest falling out between the tantalizingly-talented center and the Kings.

While the end of his time with the Kings may be inevitable, there is always another chance and more patience for a player with the gifts Cousins possesses. He is one of the best rebounders in the game, finishing last season with more offensive boards than any other player in the NBA.

His numbers are down this season, but he still grabs 24.6% of all defensive rebounds (14th) and has a total rebound percentage (.178) that places him sixteenth in the league.

Offensive efficiency has been Cousins’ biggest on-court problem.

Cousins has the sixth-highest usage rate in the NBA (.294), below only Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. He’s shooting a career-low 41.2% from the field and has TS% of just .481 despite his position.

The Celtics are one of the many teams that have been linked to Cousins. You might wonder why a veteran club with two Hall of Famers on the downside of their careers would even entertain trading assets for a question mark like Cousins, but it makes perfect sense.

Rebounding

The Celtics are the worst offensive rebounding team in the league, one of the few reasons why they have hovered around .500 without signs of much more.

Cousins would help in that department, presenting a huge upgrade over Jason Collins, who has been starting at center for Doc Rivers recently. The Darko Milicic experiment ended quickly with his return to Europe and Danny Ainge is being patient with Fab Melo as he develops in the D-League.

Right Time For A Big Move?

There are eternal optimists in Boston, believe it or not, who have faith that this Celtics team can become something more than mediocre. They point to last season, when they went 39-27 thanks to a late surge and won a weak Atlantic Division. Less than two months later, they were just a win away from eliminating the Heat and reaching the NBA Finals.

Rolling the dice on a player like Cousins is risky, but might be just the gamble the Celtics need to reenter the realm of contenders. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett continue to show signs of irreversible age.

Rajon Rondo is the clear centerpiece -- now and once 34 and 5 are done -- but the parts around him aren’t good or complementary enough to maintain the level of success that the Celtics have enjoyed since Ainge formed the original Big Three.

Ainge needs to attempt what would be an aggressive move, especially with a potential transitional stage on the horizon. In order to acquire Cousins, the Celtics would have to part with young pieces like Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and/or Fab Melo. If Sacramento wants more immediate help, pieces like Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee fit the bill.

Trading Jeff Green and his newly-minted contract, which at this point seems a hard sell in any deal, would be a very smart move.

Cousins is owed $4.9 million next season and his rookie scale contract carries a very affordable $6.5 million qualifying offer for 14-15.

Can Cousins Change?

With the Celtics, Cousins becomes a third or fourth option offensively. That alleviates a ton of pressure from him and affords a solid environment in which to grow. He was supposed to be play in concert with Tyreke Evans, but that tandem hasn’t delivered for a variety of reasons. With the Celtics, Cousins can slide into the woodwork a bit and win with greater regularity.

The chance for failure is very real, but under the tutelage of Hall of Famers like Pierce and Garnett, a coach like Rivers and an organization like the Celtics, there’s always a chance for success. With the qualifying offer, the risk would be for less than two seasons.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by sam on Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:11 pm

112288,

They need to make a deal for an impact center, and there seem to be three that might conceivably be available. Cousins, Gortat and Varejo.

I'm not sold on Cousins' defense. Maybe if the Celitcs harness his personality, they could also hone his defense. IF the Celtics could channel his energy more in the direction of positive contributions (especially on defense), he could be a long-term center for the Celtics.

Varejao's credentials read like a Celtics Help Wanted ad. Energy personified; protects the basket ferociously; great offensive rebounder; runs the floor. But he would probably be a shorter term prospect than the other two; and, I don't know exactly why, but I'm concerned that a guy who plays with that kind of energy (Bradley, Tony Allen, etc.) can be susceptible to injuries. I also think of him as being on the older side, but he just turned 30.

I think Gortat's got considerable offensive and rebounding skills. He's one of the leading practioners of the pick and roll, and he cuts very well to the basket. Last year, he was the Suns' best defender (I don't know how much that is saying.) This year, his defense has slipped rather dramatically. Who knows? Perhaps he's pouting because he's not getting the offensive touches he'd like. I think he's really missing Nash, and I bet he'd welcome the opportunity to play with Rondo.

I could be happy about any of the three, although my defensive concerns about Cousins would be stronger than my concerns about his personality.

The question is whom the Celtics could afford to give up. The Celtics need a blend of offensive and defensive skills, and—perhaps other than the center they'd be picking up—I think Jeff Green offers the best potential to fill that bill. I also believe he needs more playing time. I would be very excited about a nucleus of the NEW CENTER, KG, Green, Pierce, Lee, Bradley, Sully, Wilcox and Rondo.

"Wait," you say. "You left out Bass and Terry." Good observation. Guess why I did it. Because, based on their recent performances, I believe they may both be too unidimentional and too inconsistent to be solid contributors to a contender. Moreover, a trade of those two for either Gortat or Varejao works financially. Sacramento would have to throw in another player (Garcia?) to make it work, and I sense they see their identity as youthful athleticism. So I believe it would take third team involvement to deal for Cousins; and therefore I see it as a longshot.

Implicit in what I'm saying is that I now believe Lee can contribute in more ways than Terry; and, once Bradley is back, those two could be bumping into one another in the rotation. Moreover, I believe Lee can contribute in three ways that Terry can't: in transition (he's unquestionably the best finisher on the team, and he's always ready to run); on defense (he's an "attack defender") and with a mid-range/penetration game (very diversified and effective).

Although I don't feel Green's game at PF is as good as his game at SF, I see the PF position as a way of giving him more minutes at a position at which he can have athletic superiority against many of his opponents. With due respect to the immortal Andres Perna, I definitely wouldn't trade jeff but would get him in there at PF as soon as KG leaves the floor and leave him in at SF (with Sully at PF) when Pierce needs a blow. I'd like to see a unit of the NEW CENTER, Green, Pierce, either Lee or Bradley, and Rondo get some play, with Green, either Lee or Bradley, and Rondo causing some transition mayhem, Pierce as the trailer on the break, and the NEW CENTER being the rebounder/outlet guy.

Clearly, the current rotation lacks (among other things) the kind of synergy required to become a contender. More time might help; but I believe there may be incompatibility on some levels and missing pieces on others. It may very well be that they need to revamp their system, but I'd rather see them do so from a position of strength comprising more complementary players.

Go Celtics!

Sam

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:28 pm

Sam,

Go Celtics!

I'm not sold on Cousins either. He could be a ticking time bomb or the next dominate center for the next 10 years. Safer bet would be Gortat...at least you know what you are getting and probably would not have to give the house away. He could be had for let say Bass and a guard...perhaps Lee OR Terry. I like Lee and with Bradley they could be an unbelievable lock down duo when we need 3-5 minutes of stops and turnovers. Terry just not fitting the Celtic needs of defense ......defense...defense......he is also streaky hot/cold...hot/cold in his offense. Reminds me of RA a little when he would get in a cold streak where he could not hit a barn door.

Any way....HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND THE MRS'

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by hawksnestbeach on Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:13 am

Sam, If can get New Center one, two, or three for Bass and Terry, I say go for it! Hawk

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by sam on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:16 am

112288 and Hawk,

I forgot to mention that I'd definitely be amenable to throwing in a second rounder to sweeten the deal. A first rounder might be a stretch, but it all depends on what the market will demand. I'm not at all sure that Bass plus a 35-year-old Jason Terry would fetch any of the three centers I named.

I've always said that you don't make trades primarily to get rid of people, and that's not at all my reason for suggesting that Bass and Terry might make good trading chips. I believe both could represent pretty good value for the right team. But right now, I'm targeting improved defense, protection of the ball, more up-tempo offensive ball, better passing, and improved rebounding as five of the Celtics' most pressing needs.

I happen to believe that Bass and Jason slow the Celtics down to some extent, tend to be pretty much one-trick ponies, don't protect the ball particularly well while being mediocre passers at best (totaling, between them, 3.0 assists and 2.1 turnovers per game. And I also believe Gortat or Cousins or Varejao would give the Celtics many more rebounds than they'd lose by trading Bass and Terry.

As much as I've talked about Fab Melo currently being likely to retard Celtics' chemistry if he were brought, I hate to say that I'm feeling somewhat the same way about Bass and Terry—although I think they're both very good guys and excellent locker room presences. If I consider a rotation of the NEW CENTER, KG, Pierce, Green, Lee, Bradley, Rondo, Sully and Barbosa, I can envision ways in which every one of them can contribute complementary and necessary skills to a greatly improved Celtics chemistry.

By the way, if Green were to get more minutes at PF, I would have fairly good confidence in gradually working Joseph into the lineup as a short-minutes second back-up to Pierce (after Green). I see Joseph's learning curve as likely being a lot shorter than Melo's.

Sorry to inflict two rather long posts on people, but thinking about Celtics problems and opportunities is an ongoing process—at least for slow minds like mine.

Go Celtics!

Sam

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by MDCelticsFan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:24 am

Sam:

Nothing about your mind reminds me of Heinz Ketchup. If your mind were any quicker I'd say it was made by Nestles.

MD!

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by sam on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:09 am

MD,

Could I get a letter of reference for my wife?

So what is your opinion of the direction in which the Celtics should go, and why aren't you in bed like a good boy? Insomnia is a terrible way to start a New Year.

I don't have insomnia problems. I just don't sleep very well.

Sam

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by MDCelticsFan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:17 am

Sam:

I will come up with the letter of reference for you as long as I can pick from any of the 26 in the alphabet. Oh wasn't Insomnia an old Al Pacino flick from a couple of decades back?

MD!

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by MDCelticsFan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:22 am

As far as how the C's should go Melo would be a better long term answer as long as he can learn from Garnett before he retires which Melo can't do if in the D League. Cousins has a wealth of talent and that upside to him is tremendous. I have more reservations than Mohegan Sun about his attitude though.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:18 am

Sam,

Interesting summary which was well thought out...and I happen to agree.

Let us see what happens.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:33 am

Sam,

Just a PS..........Danny has to get a backup for Rondo. He fell short this summer of getting a true point guard.......settling for Barbosa. I liked the kid they had in summer camp and they should have offered him a spot.

So in a trade for a big I would look to get a point guard in return as well.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by mrkleen09 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:10 pm

In watching the game the other night....Cousins is a very unhappy guy and has been since his days at Kentucky. He one foul away from an explosion and one dirty look away from a beef - AT ALL TIMES.

Now maybe playing with KG and Pierce would help. Maybe playing for Doc would help. But I have not seen a change in his attitude for as long as I have been watching him....and it is clearly getting worse.

Because of this, I am not interested in him joining the Celtics. Just my opinion.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:28 pm

MrK,

It is a roll of the dice. One and done or a dominate center for 10 years.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by Outside on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:07 pm

Sam, your concern about Varejao being injury-prone is correct. Whether it's just the way it is with him (some guys aren't as physically durable as others), due to his high-energy style of play, or both, he has played close to a full season only three times in his nine-year NBA career. He leads the league in rebounding, but he is currently out hurt again; that pretty much sums up where you'd be with him -- great while he's healthy, wishing for someone more durable when he's not.

Given that, I'd go with Gortat as the preference over Varejao. Gortat is very good and also durable. He has played starter's minutes only since he got traded to Phoenix, but he has yet to miss significant time due to injury in his NBA career. With the Celtics, durability at any position and particularly at center would be a big plus.

I've already stated where I stand with Cousins. mrkleen's post pretty much sums it up. You could roll the dice with him if you can't get Varejao or Gortat, but understand that you're getting an immature, selfish, volatile, and probably troubled young man.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by mrkleen09 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:17 pm

112288 wrote:MrK,

It is a roll of the dice. One and done or a dominate center for 10 years.

112288

I disagree with this premise. The Celtics are capable of performing better than they have and we will see the start of that tonight. They are not in a desperate situation and thus I reject the idea that they have to make a major move. Getting Gortat or another big would be great....but I dont see blowing up the team in January as a good option.

If we stick to the dice analogy, there are more than 2 sides....and most of those 6 are in the negative when it comes to Cousins. He could come here and settle down, but I doubt it. More than likely - I believe he gets here, butts heads with KG and ESPECIALLY Rondo - and we are stuck with baby sitting for the rest of the season. No thanks.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by dboss on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:30 pm

I sure hope this Cuz thang comes to a quick end.

The biggest problem is not at the center spot.

The biggest problem is the inability to defend the pick and roll, close out the perimeter and control their defensive glass. Playing at times at a snail pace also impedes the team's success..

All of the aforementioned big guys do not address this issue. Now if we could get Cuz or any of the other bigs without giving up and of our best players (Rondo, Bradley and KG) I would be all for it.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by 112288 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:10 pm

HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND A SUGGESTION.

We are all die hard Celtic fans and we all want the best results for our team.

I would like to hear what everyone's thoughts are - based on the current teams roster - what your expectations are for your 2012 - 2013 Boston Celtics. That would go a long way into understanding each persons views and suggestions for improvement or just keeping with the status quo.

Since I started this, here are my feelings and thoughts. Again I am NOT saying I am correct, I am just stating my feels and why I am frustrated over the poor results so far and what I believe needs to be done. Your comments could be equally correct, that is why I am asking for every ones own inner feels and thoughts so we do not get into heated debates.

Based on the current roster and performance to date, I believe the Celtics record at the end of the year will be about 46 - 48 wins, we win round 1 loosing in round 2. Even if we were hitting on all cylinders we could not get to the finals with this team as presently assembled. If we do not have a legit shot at the finals, then you have to upgrade in order to get there. I think Danny over hyped this team to sell tickets and create fan interest after losing RA. To say we have one of the deepest benches is a BIG STRETCH by management.

Below is where I see the Celtics weaknesses and what I believe they need to do to improve. If it means staying put and not trading the likes of Fab Melo, Bradley, Sully, Joseph in order to improve.......I'm fine with that, but do not expect to go deep in April and May. However, do not expect KG to accept anything less then the finals and you then risk the chance that he might just hang it up before his 3 year contract ends, he does not need the money! The idea was to keep him in order to attract other good players to the Celtics.

Weakness & needs

1) Smaller team at the 4/5 ...we need length. We need intimidation in the paint. Too many points scored by opposing teams in the paint. We need a true center, KG is best at PF where he can help on more defensive coverage in a wider area.
2) Unable to rebound (last in league), therefore second chance points are minimal, and if we are not rebounding we cannot fast break when we are constantly taking the ball out after a score. So much for the run and gun. This is just not a lack of a BIG problem, the small forward and guards have to help out as well by boxing out or going after rebounds. Some players do, and some do not. If not, get me players who can!
3) Present players unable to play defense and guard against the pick and roll, and the perimeter.
4) No true backup point guard for Rondo who will burn out if not rested. The team has no flow when Rondo sits. We need another quarterback.
5) Need another sniper in either the form of another shooting guard or small forward who can shoot the lights out. RA could not play defense, however he kept teams on their heals because he was so deadly in shooting.

That's it, I well come others expectations for the 2012 - 2013 Celtic Team and why or why we should make any roster moves!

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by NYCelt on Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:35 pm

mrkleen09 wrote:In watching the game the other night....Cousins is a very unhappy guy and has been since his days at Kentucky. He one foul away from an explosion and one dirty look away from a beef - AT ALL TIMES.

Now maybe playing with KG and Pierce would help. Maybe playing for Doc would help. But I have not seen a change in his attitude for as long as I have been watching him....and it is clearly getting worse.

Because of this, I am not interested in him joining the Celtics. Just my opinion.

Agree with Kleen on this and his later comments on the big potential for the blend of Cousins' and Rondo's egos being a problem.

I do think we need help, but that Cousins is a perceived quick fix and is simply heading in the wrong direction.

My personal opinion, and this is not knee-jerk based upon our start, is that this edition of the Celtics is pretty much done. I think the team is stronger than it has shown and will likely improve but that realistically this bunch is not a threat to go deep into the playoffs.

I think it's time to rebuild, and to do so with a quality product worthy of the team's history and the place in the league we have re-established for ourselves. The terms quality and Cousins just don't work in the same sentence for me. I think it's time for the page on the era that started in '07 to change. Starting with Cousins as part of the nucleus strikes me as a bad idea. We've got Rondo, Green and Sullinger in what I would consider the new core. Green seems to be building back from a life threatening experience and if Bradley can recover to what he was I'd include him in that group. Sully may never be a starter in that group, but could provide very reliable depth at forward.

I would rather be patient and either sign, draft or trade for a center and/or power forward to compliment this group properly.

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by sinus007 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:51 pm

Hi,
I think Danny will try to tweak the team this year. If it doesn't work I expect a major overhaul next season.
I don't know much about Cousins to say that he'll sink the team even deeper or, he'll become that proverbial spark. If DA goes after him I hope it won't cost us much.
Maybe DA will go for Gortat or AV.
As for current status, as I mentioned before, it's just a slump.
In any case, there's still time to decide which way to turn the team.

AK

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Re: Why The Celtics Should (And Might) Gamble On DeMarcus Cousins

Post by sam on Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:54 pm

112288,

You're preaching to the choir as far as getting a true PG to back up Rondo. Not a star (who would want to start anyway), but a serviceable tactician and ball distributor. I believe that some iteration of starters will eventually get their stuff together.

But unless the bench gets into consistent synch, we'll have an incomplete team. They may not be the best bench in the league, but they could become a weapon rather than—at best— a placeholder with the right PG handing out the French pastry.

Sam

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