Pistons better off without Cousins
JAN 01, 2013 11:03p ET
Cousins was chosen by the Sacramento Kings with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, two slots ahead of Greg Monroe. Because the two play the same position and the Pistons were interested in Cousins back then, people often link the two players.
With Cousins collecting three suspensions since the Pistons and Kings last played in Sacramento in early November, there has been some talk that Cousins might be available in a trade.
Cousins, 22, had 21 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and three steals in Tuesday's game, a 103-97 Pistons victory.
Cousins is averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, so you can certainly understand why any team would be interested in the 6-foot-11, 270-pound behemoth.
At one point in the game, Cousins had three Pistons standing between him and the basket, yet he was able to muscle his way in for a dunk.
But Monroe isn't exactly a slouch, despite giving up 20 pounds to Cousins.
Monroe, who had his 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's win, is averaging 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds.
The always affable Monroe said after the game that he wasn't going to answer any questions about Cousins. Monroe's probably just tired of the comparisons. He was perfectly happy to address the rest of the game, the heady play of Austin Daye and the bench, among other topics.
Monroe, also 22, has never been suspended for yelling at his own head coach, not even in the John Kuester era when there was often open rebellion. Monroe, a rookie back then, just put his head down and kept working.
Coach Lawrence Frank never has anything bad to say about Monroe.
You also never hear of Monroe confronting another team's broadcaster, which Cousins did to San Antonio's Sean Elliott. Cousins apparently didn't like some comments Elliott made about him and Spurs big man Tim Duncan. Cousins served a two-game suspension for that.
No, quite the contrary. Monroe actually fits into the "Goin' to Work" philosophy that made the Pistons so successful in the mid to late 2000s.
That was Monroe's reputation when he was drafted, and nothing has changed since then.
Plus, now that the Pistons have 19-year-old Andre Drummond (7 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks in 21-plus minutes Tuesday), they don't really need to go looking for that athletic big man. They have one and one who's providing a nice yin to Monroe's yang.
The Pistons are also a young team, and when you have a young team, it's best to have steady, mature players around to influence the younger players -- not someone who lacks self-awareness. Monroe is one of the younger guys, but already is that steady, mature guy.
I'm not saying that Cousins is a bad person who will never help a team win. Someday down the road he might figure it out and be the player he's capable of being all the time.
I'm just saying that he doesn't fit the Pistons' needs right now and Monroe does.