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Stephen A. Smith, the outspoken ESPN analyst, thinks that DeMarcus Cousins remains a top-tier big man in the NBA despite his recent challenges.

On the Podcast P with Paul George, Smith confidently stated (h/t ClutchPoints), “DeMarcus Cousins, right now, would be a top five big man in basketball. Period.” Smith emphasized Cousins’ formidable skillset, physique, basketball IQ, and shooting prowess as reasons for his assertion.

Smith also addressed the criticisms surrounding Cousins, acknowledging his past controversies but calling for compassion and understanding. “Where’s forgiveness at? Where’s understanding? Where’s compassion?” Smith questioned, emphasizing the need to evaluate Cousins based on his present abilities.

Currently without an NBA team, the 33-year-old Cousins last played for the Guaynabo Mets in Puerto Rico’s Baloncesto Superior Nacional league. Over the last few years Cousins went through a series of team changes.