DeMarcus Cousins is now over a full season removed from his Achilles injury and although he made a rather timely recovery, he clearly struggled to return to form with the Golden State Warriors during the 2018-19 NBA season.
Luckily, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has had experience with something like this when Paul George missed nearly a full season due to a broken leg with the Indiana Pacers.
George was playing the best basketball of his career when at a Team USA showcase in 2014, he broke his leg badly. It took him until the very end of the 2014-15 season to recover and took him until later in the following season to return to his All-Star form.
Vogel spoke about what that means for Cousins for the 2019-20 season, detailing how recovering from an injury is really a two-year process, according to Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times:
“I talked to DeMarcus about Paul George and overseeing his recovery from that broken leg,” Vogel said. “The first year you’re out. You don’t play. You’re not even in uniform. I mean, you’re just not even in uniform. Year 2, you’re in uniform, but you’re not quite yourself the entire year. Gordon Hayward saw it this year. It takes, to me, a full second year to regain all of your rhythm, timing and explosiveness and quickness. It just takes time.”
Vogel also gave Cousins some hope that should he follow George’s timeline, this would be the season where he starts to return to form, something that would be terrifying for the rest of the league:
“’This is the year that I think that [he] hopefully starts to really gain his form, and if he does, then we have one of the most powerful, dominant players in the game,’ Vogel said.”
If Cousins returns to being even 75 percent of what he was in the 2017-18 season with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers will have a legitimate Big 3.
When Cousins went down, he was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game. Those numbers are absurd, especially when it’s considered that he shared a frontcourt with Anthony Davis.
Obviously, it’s a huge if on the topic of whether or not he can return to that form. But just the possibility of that should make his one year, $3.5 million deal worth it, especially when Vogel will be right alongside him just as he was for George.