Before the second game of the Golden State Warriors' first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers in April, DeMarcus Cousins was finally beginning to feel like having torn his Achilles tendon the previous year. He told people close to him how "incredible" he felt, how much he thought he had become himself again.
Later in the night, cousins collapsed to the ground with what an MRI would confirm later was a torn quad tendon. The cousins would eventually return to the NBA Finals and try to help the Warriors before the team falls into the hands of the Toronto Raptors, but he clearly did not feel 100% at that time. .
It was probably a difficult situation, but you would not know it by listening to Cousins talk about it during a teleconference with reporters after his official signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. DeMarcus Cousins, a player (often unjustly) criticized for his attitude, actually seems to have spent the most difficult years of his career turning him into a kind of optimist.
"I felt really good at the time," said Cousins about the night he injured his quad. "It's a good thing, because I know it's possible to come back to this place, so that's the good thing I got out of it."
Another positive point to consider? Cousins says his quad "is 100% cured" and that he works every day to strengthen the lower body so that these injuries do not happen again.
"I'm getting stronger, I feel better. My plan is to get into the camp in great shape. My goal is to play 82 games this season, "said Cousins. "I want a full season of health and go to the playoffs, and whatever happens, it happens."
And Cousins thinks good things can happen for the Lakers, who were recruited by his former teammates Pelicans, Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, with LeBron James. Cousins had a conversation with the three players who answered all his questions about an organization in which he did not know many other people. Once they eliminated any potential concern, they all sent the same simple message to the Cousins.
"Everyone's message was the same: we are all here this season to play a championship, and that's it. I think we can all agree on that, and having said that, it was an easy decision to make, "said Cousins.
The quality of the Lakers 'participation in a championship will depend in part on the Cousins' ability to outperform its one-year, $ 3.5 million contract. Two seasons have passed since his Achilles tear – normally by the time players begin to get closer to their previous form – the Cousins could potentially be an unbelievable boon to the Lakers, a way to add a higher level starter at a significant discount.
Cousins said that he did not expect teams to face because of his state of health and that he was not stressed by the fact of not Do not hear with any team before finding an agreement with the Lakers several days later. . He does not fear being questioned.
"I feel like I've tried to show and prove myself all my career. I feel better under pressure when the odds are against me. I feel the best of me is coming out, so I take it for what it's worth, "said Cousins.
"I've somehow been questioned all my life, and used as fuel to grow every day. One of my biggest fears is to be wrong to prove to someone who does not agree with me or who does not care about my best interests, continued Cousins. "I'm always trying to prove that this type of person is wrong."
There will not be many people who doubt the Lakers this year, because the team will be one of the favorites to win the title thanks to the pairing of James and Davis. A chance to find these after having the impression that they had an unfinished business because their relationship in New Orleans was interrupted by injury is one of the factors that drew the Cousins in Los Angeles and he is excited by the addition of James to a dynamic that has already worked well. .
"I think we're a pretty tough big-name duo, that's one of the reasons we wanted to become teammates again, we realized how much we better each other and how easy we made the game. I think we appreciate our mutual presence, "said Cousins.
"To add LeBron James to the mix, I think his resume speaks for itself. If we add one of the biggest players in the game (Davis and me), "Cousins said, pausing and getting away, thus avoiding any possibility of hyperbole before he left. simply offer, hopefully, "It should be an exciting season".
There is probably a reason for cousins to play coy. Last season, with the Warriors, it seemed like it would almost guarantee him his first ring, to the point that it would have led to criticism that he had ruined the league by choosing the team. As you may have noticed, the Warriors did not win a title last year.
The prognoses are excellent, but Cousins knows better than anyone now that the games have yet to be played, even though he's optimistic about the Lakers' ability.
"The alignment is amazing. I think we have a lot of talented pieces. On paper, we look legitimate. We seem to have a good chance of winning a title, but obviously the game is not played on paper, "said Cousins. "It's our job to get together, mesh, stay on the same page, build chemistry and win games. But on paper, we look great.
Cousins seems ready for the upcoming season, which is only surprising in the sense that it would be in human nature to worry about his own health after the last two injuries that Cousins suffered. But he says they did not make him less enthusiastic about playing basketball.
On the contrary, it looks like they had exactly the opposite effect.
"I love it a lot more. All I have experienced in the last three years is what made me understand how much this thing can be taken away from you, "said Cousins.
"I am grateful for every opportunity. I learned the hard way.
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