More than anything, the Boston Celtics need to find someone capable of protecting the rim. In the post-KG era, we've too often seen opposing team's get to the rim both with ease and without fear. Past the initial wave, and attacking the rim without even a moments pause. It's the fundamental reason I have an issue with the idea of potentially adding Demarcus Cousins if in fact he does become available.

I'd much rather see the Celtics add an established defensive force like Marc Gasol. Someone whose able to keep opponents to a measly 48.2% at the rim. Someone who can block 1.7 shots a game, and swipe away 1.4 steals a game. Someone who makes such an impact that his opponent's offensive rating is almost 10 points worse with him on the floor then off. That's what the Celtics need, right?

Here's the thing, though - I haven't actually been talking about Marc Gasol. Those stats I've listed above are actually Demarcus Cousins'. It was a trick. A filthy trick. But it's reminder that perception isn't always reality, and often times players development don't match their reputation.

See, Marc Gasol is supposed to be the embodiment of a physical, modern day rim protector. And Demarcus Cousins is the guy who does stuff like this, right? Yes and no. Yes, DeMarcus Cousins has made a few knucklehead in game decisions (which I think are the product of a great deal of frustration), but he's also transformed his game to be one of the better defensive centers in the league.

Take a look at these defensive stats compared to the aforementioned Gasol

That's not to say that Cousins is necessarily a better defensive player than Gasol. He isn't - at least at this point. He's still average in pick and roll defense (though he's getting better), and as seen in the vine listed before, clearly can be subject of defensive lapses. If you're looking for more specifics the guys over at Hardwood Parodoxysm did an excellent breakdown of Cousins' improved defense. It's to suggest, again, that reputations have a tendency to stick and outweigh player's developments.

That's somewhat understandable. The Kings are rarely on national television, and for east-coasters there games generally conclude after 1am. But don't fall victim of basing your opinions on reputation; Demarcus Cousins is a very good defensive player.

MattDotRich 2/27/2015 10:23:00 AM Edit
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