The Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins is the best center in the NBA – better than the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, the Hawks’ Al Horford, the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and the Rockets’ Dwight Howard.
That’s according to Bleacher Report’s annual player rankings, based on its NBA 200 metric that identifies the players who performed best during the 2014-15 regular season.
Centers were graded in five categories:
▪ Scoring (20 possible points)
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▪ Non-scoring offense: facilitating (5), off-ball offense (15)
▪ Defense: on-ball (10), off-ball (15), rim protection (15)
▪ Rebounding (15)
▪ Intangibles: conduct (5), durability (5)
Cousins and Gasol both scored 87 out of the 100 possible points, but Bleacher Report put Cousins first after a tie-breaking vote by six of its writers and editors. Cousins was rated higher in scoring (Cousins 19, Gasol 16) and rebounding (14-11); Gasol got the nod in defense (37-35) and intangibles (10-8). Horford was third (84), followed by Jordan and Howard (both 82).
We have no issues with the criteria, except the system doesn’t take into account winning and making teammates better. Gasol, Jordan, Howard and Horford were key players for teams that advanced at least through the first round of the playoffs this season, though none made it to the NBA Finals.
In Cousins’ five seasons, the Kings have averaged 26 victories and haven’t come close to making the playoffs.
But Cousins also has played for five coaches (Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Michael Malone, Tyrone Corbin, George Karl) and three basketball bosses (Geoff Petrie, Pete D’Alessandro, Vlade Divac).
With Divac and Karl now in charge, there should be more stability. Now Cousins needs to step up and lead the Kings to a winning season. That’s the only thing he still needs to do to justify a No. 1 rating.
Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097 @tomcouzens
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