DeMarcus Cousins signed another one-year deal this offseason — this time with the Los Angeles Lakers — and he’s setting some lofty goals for himself as he plays for his fourth NBA team in the past four seasons. His goal for the 2019-20 season? To play 82 games — something that the nine-year veteran has never accomplished during his NBA career.
Cousins also says his quad, which he tore during the opening round of the playoffs, is 100 percent healthy. It was an injury that required surgery and sidelined him for two months until eventually returning in Game 1 of the Finals.
There is no doubt that Cousins is still an effective player when he’s healthy. However, the recent injuries — he also suffered a severe Achilles injury that sidelined him for a full year until he returned midway through the 2018-19 season — have limited him. Although his role with the Golden State Warriors was different from his role as a go-to player during the first eight seasons of his career, he clearly didn’t have the same explosion post-Achilles injury as he did prior to it.
As for playing a full 82-game season, Cousins came close once when he played in 81 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2010-11. His second-highest total of games played was 75 during the 2012-13 season, which feels like ages ago. His average number of games played during the past three seasons is just 50 games.
It’s true that Cousins will have a diminished workload this season. In fact, there’s a very good chance he won’t even be a starter as he was with the Warriors last season. And the Lakers appear to have a lot of depth with Cousins, Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee manning the paint.
However, with Cousins nearing the age of 30 and coming off two really serious injuries in the span of just 15 months, it’s hard to see the former All-Star big man reaching his lofty expectations.
Even if he doesn’t reach his objective, the Purple and Gold will welcome a healthy Cousins throughout the 2019-20 regular season and postseason.
The Lakers might need a clean bill of health from Cousins if they look to overcome teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers in the rugged Western Conference in the upcoming NBA season.