Discussion

Shouldering the load

Kings and Pistons depending on big men Cousins and Monroe

Updated: September 18, 2012, 2:32 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

When a team drafts a big man in the top 10, the hope is he becomes that coveted "franchise center" most teams believe they must have in order to win an NBA title. Indeed, unless a team is blessed with top-flight wing players as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat are, a featured and prodigiously productive center is typically one of the necessary components for a franchise to return to relevance.

For once-proud but now downtrodden franchises such as the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings, their hopes to become serious title contenders must begin with their best big men, Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins. Uber-talented but still very young, both players have the ability to do what Kevin Love did in 2011-12 en route to becoming one of the league's best players. But just how do Monroe and Cousins take that next step? What do they have to do?

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