For every Blatche there are ten Michael Beasleys.
And we're not just talking about taking a flyer with minimal downside. These are discussions about trades in which the Celtics give up valuable assets.
Right now Cousins is on one of the worst teams in the league, and he makes that team worse by being on the court rather than off it. He's a mediocre offensive player, and a terrible defensive player.
Beasley is a tweener - he's Jeff Green with a bad attitude. We are having enough trouble getting consistent production out of Jeff Green with a GOOD attitude.
Cousins is a 6'11", built like an ox and pretty athletic. Guys with that type of physical ability usually have value in the NBA even if they are completely lacking talent.
Cousins does not lack talent. He is an ourstanding rebounding, he has a properly capable inside game, and he has the physical tools to be a solid defensive player in the right situation.
The sheer lack of talented big men in the NBA makes Cousins VERY much worth taking a gamble on.
Another difference is that we have seen Beasley go to multiple teams (from decent teams like Miami to terrible teams like Phoenix) and his mentality never changed. Both Blatche and Cousins had been stuck on a single team their entire career, and in both cases (Sac an Wash) they were garbage teams with no hope of winning anything.
Imagine you are a legitimately talented young NBA player. Every night you go out there and you work your butt off and as the best player of your team. Every night you go out and grab nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, yet you still lose. Doesn't matter how hard you try or how good you play - you could get 30 and 15 and you'd probably still lose, because you play for a garbage team.
Being in that situation, wouldn't you start to eventually get sick of being the only guy playing well? Wouldn't you get tired of putting it all on the line only to get constantly blown out, knowing that your team has zero hope of making the playoffs?
Occasionally you will find players with exceptional resolve (like KG and Paul Pierce) who will continue to work their butt off for a losing team out of sheer loyalty and determination, but those players are the rare exception rather than the rule.
This is exactly why I wanted Blatche here so badly - the guy is big and athletic and he knows how to play. He has the talent and the physical gifts to be a very good player in the league and the only thing holding him back is his mentality. You don't need to teach this guy how to play, all you need to do is get him to believe and to buy in to your system and you just got yourself an outstanding talent at a bargain price. So far it looks like New Jersey did just that.
Cousins is in the same situation. This kid is extremely young so his potential is limitless. He has the physical gifts to be a not solid, but Elite
big in this league. Worse case scenario he is Vin Baker, and best case scenario he is Karl Malone. You could do a LOT worse then Vin Baker as a worst case for a young player, and that's the risk you take to get a potential Karl Malone in return then you're insane not to take it.
Especially when you run a team that is notoriously lacking in talented big men. I'm thinking that Vin Baker at his worst would be a nice improvement over an big man (not named KG) we have right now...