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Is DeMarcus Cousins Attractive?

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Is Damian Lillard an All-Star? Who are the most desirable centers for the Portland Trail Blazers to court? All this and more in the Blazer’s Edge Mailbag

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome the Blazer’s Edge Mailbag, our regular feature answering your questions about the Portland Trail Blazers and everything surrounding them. Today’s edition is special: we’re printing your responses to past Mailbag answers along with follow-up questions. You want further clarification or just to call me to task? This Mailbag is for you!

Note that I typed out a response to this first question before reports came in that DeMarcus Cousins would re-sign with the Sacramento Kings this summer. We’ll still run with it because it’s theoretical anyway. And hey, Boogie hasn’t signed yet. A bunch of months remain between now and July for him to change his mind!

Dave,

A while ago you said that DeMarcus Cousins would bring plenty of trade offers and the Blazers should be interested in him but couldn’t get him. Almost right after you said it a report came out that no GM was interested in him and just recently another said that the Blazers had no plans for him. Care to revise?

Bryan

Not really. You’re citing tweets, not reports. There’s a difference, especially when the first one began “Every GM I’ve talked to says they don’t want Cousins”. How many GM’s has that guy talked to? Plus trading for Cousins is like dating a Kardashian or voting for certain political candidates. Nobody’s going to admit publicly that they’d do it, but when the real-life chance comes up plenty of people will.

They should, too. Rasheed Wallace, Dennis Rodman, and JR Smith all have championship rings. Former Trail Blazer Zach Randolph has become an anchor in one of the most solid and enduring starting lineups in the league (give or take an injury or two). Cousins’ talent outstrips them all. Sure, he could end up like Bonzi Wells, but he’s going to be Bonzi Wells averaging 25 and 10 from the center position. Plenty of teams will take that bargain.

At this point the Blazers would be crazy not to consider a Cousins deal. The move could fail but so could the Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum experiment. Lillard and McCollum would crumble more slowly and with nicer headlines, but not succeeding is not succeeding.

Note that I’m not saying that backcourt duo WILL fail. But neither can anyone say that a combo of one of them and Cousins would.

(By the way, we’re having a Boogie Cousins expert on next Tuesday’s podcast to answer all of these questions for you. Tune in then for more!)

Dave,

Damian Lillard isn’t an allstar? Is the stuff that’s legal in Portland now legal where you are too? Cmon!

Dana

I’d like to point out that Eric Griffith penned that article. Both he and I agree that Lillard should be an All-Star on merit compared toan average year’s selection. The problems with that theory are two:

  1. All-Stars aren’t selected on an average, abstract basis. They have to beat out real players in their conference to make the team.
  2. As always, the field is crowded in the West.
  3. Lillard is trailing the leading vote-getters at guard by a 5-1 ratio.

I know that’s three reasons, not two. I demand a recount. As should we all. I don’t get how Damian could be THAT far behind James Harden. That said, it seems certain he won’t be voted in as a starter. And as Eric pointed out:

Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Klay Thompson will be fighting for the final three spots along with several other big-time players: Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, Marc Gasol, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Blake Griffin.

As a reserve, Lillard’s All-Star candidacy will be in the hands of NBA Coaches. That particular group takes a dim view of bad defense and lack of wins. Dame has fallen prey to their proclivities before. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

P.S. Anyone hoping for CJ McCollum to make it as well will have to hope for rampant injuries to thin the roster.

Dave,

You basically avoided the question on chemistry with a semi-funny skit. Why don’t you answer it? What’s wrong with the chemistry?

Oliver

I wasn’t trying to avoid it. To the extent the question can be answered—which is not very much—I’ve addressed it before. Off-court chemistry doesn’t matter nearly as much as people think. It makes for feel-good stories in August but nice doesn’t matter in May’s playoff crucible. If reports are accurate, plenty of Michael Jordan’s teammates found him prickly. Kobe Bryant and Shaq ended up not liking each other much. They all won titles. The Blazers are chummy. They’re nowhere close to a ring.

On-court chemistry matters plenty, but that has less to do with personality and more to do with skill sets and effort. The Blazers are, and have been, mismatched in the skill department. Bananas, distributor caps, and cat litter all serve useful purposes. Rube Goldberg would have a tough time getting them to mesh together. When a player’s skill set isn’t employed to the fullest and he doesn’t get positive feedback from using it (usually in the form of wins), effort flags. Talented, veteran-laden teams know how to overcome this. The Blazers are neither talented nor veteran-laden. There’s your “chemistry issue” in a nutshell. You can dance around it all you want with talk of team dinners, parties, and players-only meetings. None of those will change the basic structure.

Dave,

I can tell by your responses to these questions. You drink girlie drinks, right?

Myers (not that one)

Do B-52’s and Copper Camels count as “girlie drinks”? Cuz then yes.

Dave,

Please rank the centers mentioned in connection with the Blazers [via trade].

HB

Without regard to likelihood of acquiring them or cost:

  1. DeMarcus Cousins
  2. Hassan Whiteside
  3. Nerlens Noel
  4. Derrick Favors (I know, power forward, but still...)
  5. Greg Monroe
  6. Paul Millsap (Also power forward...)
  7. Brook Lopez
  8. Nikola Vucevic
  9. Nikola Mirotic (Also power forward...)
  10. Tyson Chandler
  11. Andrew Bogut
  12. Roy Hibbert

Keep sending your Mailbag questions to blazersub@gmail.com and we’ll try to answer!

Blazer’s Edge Night 2017

Want to assist us in sending 2,000+ underprivileged Portland-area kids to a Trail Blazers game this spring? Check out Blazer’s Edge Night 2017 for information on how to get involved, and help spread the word!

—Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @Blazersedge / @DaveDeckard