Favors, Cousins to face off on June 21

After some gentle prodding by the New Jersey Nets’ front office, Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors and Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins – the top two big men in the NBA draft – will work out one-on-one against each other on June 21 in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Nets hold the third pick in the draft, and so far Favors’ agent Wallace Prather has been reluctant to let him get matched with the bigger, stronger Cousins on the floor. They worked out together in Sacramento on Saturday, but largely stayed in individual drills. Sources say Nets general manager Rod Thorn is leaning toward drafting Favors, but wants to see him in some contact drills with Cousins.

The Nets have a talented young center with Brook Lopez(notes) and see Favors fitting into the power forward spot. For Cousins to leap over Favors into the third spot – assuming Kentucky point guard John Wall and Ohio State forward Evan Turner go first and second to the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers – he’ll have to show the Nets a level of agility and perimeter skill to play forward.

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Favors and Cousins are also expected to share a workout in Philadelphia on Friday, sources said, but they won’t go against each other.

John Grieg, the agent for Cousins, won’t send his client to workout for the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources say, because he believes the Wolves have decided to draft Syracuse small forward Wesley Johnson.

Cousins had an excellent workout with the Sacramento Kings, grading out as the best shooter to visit Sacramento in the predraft process. He hit 78 percent of his shots in the workout, including a lot of pick-and-pop attempts.

Favors graded out as the far better athlete, but the Kings, who have the No. 5 pick in the draft, believed Cousins was a more advanced player. He showed Sacramento officials more range than they thought he had, consistently hitting the 17-foot jumper. The Kings are considering several players, but Cousins could be difficult to pass over.

Sources say the Kings are also still open to trade possibilities, and Detroit and Utah are two teams eager to move up in the draft. The Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince(notes) could be intriguing to the Kings, who are eager to add a veteran small forward to the roster.