DeMarcus Cousins focused on effort, winning regardless of whether he starts

DeMarcus Cousins
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 04: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on April 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

While Anthony Davis deservedly got all of the headlines, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired another former All-Star this summer. DeMarcus Cousins joined the team among a flurry of signings on his second straight “prove it” deal after suffering a devastating Achilles injury.

It’s clear that Cousins is not the same All-NBA caliber player that he was before his injury. In fact, it’s not certain that he will start alongside his former Pelicans teammate in the frontcourt. Head coach Frank Vogel has maintained that that decision hasn’t been made yet. Regardless of what Vogel ultimately chooses to do, however, Cousins does not seem bothered by the decision.

Following transcribed by Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll from Cousins’ media availability:

“Honestly I’m just kind of coming in and doing whatever I can to help this team go to the next level and win games on a nightly basis. I’ll leave those decisions to the coaching staff,” Cousins said.

“I come in and I control what I can control, which is my effort every night for my work ethic, etc.,” Cousins said. “That’s up to the coaching staff, and when my name is called upon I’ll be ready.”

This will undoubtedly be a tough decision for Vogel. Cousins is the more talented starting center option but the team’s defense may suffer if they put him ahead of JaVale McGee. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis is best suited to play the center position but has previously been known to prefer saving some damage to his body by playing one position down.

Regardless of Vogel’s decision, Cousins’ buy-in is crucial. The big man will obviously want to show that he can still be productive in order to earn back some of the money he lost by suffering that injury. But doing so in a team setting that may involve deferring to McGee for the sake of the defense may be a necessity and so far, Cousins is saying all the right things.

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