NBA Draft: Kings reportedly sold on taking DeMarcus Cousins with the No. 5 pick

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DeMarcus Cousins may not be the most agreeable player in the draft, but he has to be among the most talented. Cousins’ combination of size, skills, and potential has many scouts swooning, yet it seems like teams in the lottery are looking for reasons not to take him. Obviously no coach or GM wants to give themselves a perpetual headache if there are other options available (and the general appreciation of Derrick Favors’ game gives decision-makers the way out they so desperately crave), even if Cousins turns out to be a hell of a player.

That has to stop somewhere, as one lucky lottery team was going to watch Cousins fall into their lap. That team is apparently the Sacramento Kings; Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Kings will take Cousins with the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, ending his mini-slide and leaving the Warriors and Pistons in the cold.

DeMarcus isn’t coming into the league as a professional per se, but he’s still a hell of a prospect. Statistically speaking, his ability to do serious damage in limited minutes should have NBA fans salivating. He averaged 25.8 points and 16.8 rebounds per 40 minutes in his freshman season at Kentucky, and that level of elite production will be handed over to an NBA team ready to utilize his 6’10” frame.

Character matters, and there are many aspects of Cousins’ personality that would qualify as turn-offs. The same is true of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. I don’t mean to inflate expectation by dropping Cousins’ name in with those two, but they stand as proof that flawed people can still be incredible players. DeMarcus is admittedly of a different breed, but as long as he’s producing on the court and not making too much of a mess off of it, he’s worth the trouble. 

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.