Favors vs. Cousins vs. Johnson

NBA Draft 2010

By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets have now worked out all three of the top \’consensus\’ candidates for consideration at the number three slot in the draft. PF Derrick Favors and C/PF DeMarcus Cousins were in today. SF Wesley Johnson was in last week. I did not attend any of these workouts.*

The results, as reported, would seem to indicate that the Nets have more food for thought than they had originally contemplated. By all accounts, Kentucky one-and-done 19 year old DeMarcus Cousins demonstrated a considerable skill set that includes deft shooting from range (that extended out to 20ft), better footwork and more overall polish than rawer, but somewhat more athletic 18 year old Georgia Tech Freshman Derrick Favors who struggled to make shots further than 16 feet.

All said, however, the workouts apparently went well and neither player hurt their stock in any significant way, though Cousins improved his dramatically. Along with Wesley Johnson, the Nets now have three solid candidates to consider drafting.

This leaves the Nets in something of a quandary as to whom to select when draft day rolls around this Thursday. It also opens up the possibility of moving down with some other team like the Timberwolves or Kings, and picking up extra value in the process, because one of the players the Nets like would still be available, assuming they have no clear preference.

As I\’ve said, the Nets could use some consistently good big men to pair with Brook Lopez. They haven\’t had any since Cliff Robinson and that\’s an understatement. They could also use another wing like Wesley Johnson and a backup PG or C, but that is more easily attainable lower in the draft, via trade or in free agency.

As far as big men are concerned, if the player is athletic and can score, that\’s even better. The Nets could also use a bruiser on the blocks that\’ll clear space.

If DeMarcus Cousins is versatile enough to play the 4 (and he played it in high school) and can also provide a center presence down low, maybe he\’s the man for the job? Why not also see what new Head Coach Avery Johnson thinks as he will be deploying any talent?

Both DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors and Wesley Johnson intrigue. The Nets now have the information to determine who to go with.

For my money, I\’d rather risk a potential problem child (Don\’t think he\’s another Z-Bo) that is talented than a promising athletic project that never develops. Of course, every talent evaluator has their own proprietary, unique, and specialized way of evaluating talent and that doesn\’t mean Favors or Johnson won\’t work out either.

Let me muse here a little bit about drafts past that have some bearing on this matter. In the 2001 NBA Draft the Nets engineered a draft day trade of the seventh pick to the Houston Rockets, who coveted the talented, but troubled, too-young Seton Hall star, PF Eddie Griffin, for the thirteenth, eighteenth and twenty-third picks in the draft. Current Lakers PF Pau Gasol was one of the best players in that draft and taken third.

The Nets then proceeded to have the Houston Rockets select for them SF Richard Jefferson at #13 (a good pick) and C Jason Collins at #18 (somewhat mediocre) ahead of PF Zach Randolph (#19) among others. The Nets then squandered a pick on PG Brandon Armstrong (not even D-League material) at #23 ahead of SF Gerald Wallace (#25), PG Tony Parker (#28) and SG Gilbert Arenas (#31).

Although Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas (until the suspension) have had stellar careers and all-Star Gerald Wallace a good one, All-Star Zach Randolph\’s has been mixed, but arguably better than Jason Collins on balance, at least in the productivity department. A young Randolph obviously also had more trade value as well first coming out.

Could the Nets have drafted Wallace, Parker and Arenas and called it a day? How about Randolph, Wallace and Parker?

The point is that there are a lot of ways to go, but you must make correct evaluations. Wesley Johnson is a great small forward. Maybe as good as Evan Turner, though Turner\’s numbers are simply astounding.

As far as the big men are concerned, there are pros and cons to each. Favors is 6-8.75 in bare socks and Cousins is 6-9.5 – a full three quarters of an inch taller.

Cousins is far stronger. Favors more athletic.

One tends to play better above the rim. The other below.

Cousins may be able to play the 4 and the 5. Favors only the 4.

Each produces in his own way, but Cousins is more polished.

Cousins skill-set allows him to produce right away. Favors is maybe years away, but could possibly contribute next year.

If the Nets may acquire an accomplished PF in free agency, would they be better served to back him up with Favors or Cousins? … Who can also back up Brook Lopez?

In other words, would you take the next Bob-Lanier-Zach Randolph-Erik Dampier over the Next Al Horford-Shareef Abdur Rahim-Stromile Swift? That\’s the $19.3 million dollar question.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2010 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at kathyforkids@cs.com

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