DeMarcus Cousins and Joel Embiid went head to head on Monday night in a duel so entertaining, the two gave each other joyous butt-slaps as it was happening. We are absolutely here for a bromance between two of the most dynamic centers in the NBA, and Cousins is well aware of Embiid’s potential. Speaking to a sideline reporter after the game, Cousins was effusive:
I like that kid a lot. I don’t give a lot of people props, but I like that kid a lot, man. I think he has a great chance to be the best big in the league … after I retire.
It was a good enough line to crack up his interviewer, and you could see how happy he was with himself, but he’s also quite right. Once Embiid learns more of the subtleties of the game on both ends — how to be less predictable with his already-great post moves and how to rotate better on defense — he could very well be the best big man in the NBA. That’s how impressive his raw skills are.
Meanwhile, Cousins is welcome to think of himself as the best big in the league right now, but until he finds a team and/or coach that can convince him to engage consistently on defense, he can’t lay claim to the title. Defense is just too important a component for centers to ignore, which is why our pick would probably be Marc Gasol, now that he’s healthy again.