DeMarcus Cousins is 26 years old and is averaging 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. That makes him one of the best players – and one of the most valuable assets – in the NBA.
But Bobby Marks would rather have Nikola Jokic. The 21-year-old Serbian is averaging 16.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks for Denver (25-31).
“I know we all make a fuss about DeMarcus Cousins, and I can seriously say that I would rather have (Jokic) than DeMarcus Cousins right now,” Marks, a front-office insider for The Vertical, said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I say that for multiple reasons.”
The No. 1 reason? Behavior.
“The on-court antics – I can’t stand watching Cousins when he complains all the time,” Marks said. “I think he’s kind of putting the pin in the balloon and lets the air out of the building.”
Jokic is also five years younger and makes considerably less money. In fact, he makes $1.3 million per year. Cousins makes $15.7 million and is reportedly interested in signing a $200+ million extension with Sacramento.
“The contract comparable to a tough-minded kid, really tough, can play inside-out, one of the best passing bigs I’ve seen in awhile – and he’s the 41st pick in the draft,” Marks said. “So that gives hope to a lot of these teams that have second-round picks when you go into June that you can possibly find a player like that if you do your homework.”
Interestingly, Denver and Sacramento could be jockeying for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are currently in the 8-spot, with Sacramento (24-33) trailing by 1.5 games.
Regardless of what happens this year, though, Marks believes the Nuggets have a great chance to be competitive in the coming years. They have seven players averaging double figures, and all of them are in their 20s. Four are 26 or younger.
“It’s interesting,” Marks said. “The’ve got a ton of guys. They’ve done a great job drafting. (They’ve got) a lot of young kids. It’ll be interesting. They’ll have a lot of money this summer. Can you go out and finally get a free agent? A good veteran free agent to mix and match with that group? They’re a fun team to watch.”