Paul George Says DeMarcus Cousins 'Still Has a Lot to Give' After Clippers Debut

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 6: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the LA Clippers high fives Head Coach Tyronn Lue of the LA Clippers during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 6, 2021 at STAPLES Center 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George said he was impressed with the team debut of center DeMarcus Cousins, who scored seven points in eight minutes during Tuesday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

"He was great," George told reporters. "He's an All-Star. He's still one of the most skilled bigs in the league. He can finish, he rebounds. I thought you saw a little bit of everything from him tonight, and he showed he's still got a lot left to give."

Cousins signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers on Monday to provide frontcourt depth with fellow center Serge Ibaka currently sidelined by a back injury.

The 30-year-old University of Kentucky product is looking to re-establish himself as an impact player after injuries derailed his career. 

Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks across 48 appearances for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2017-18 season before suffering a torn Achilles.

The four-time All-Star then suffered a torn quadriceps in the 2019 playoffs with the Golden State Warriors and a torn ACL before getting a chance to play a game with the Los Angeles Lakers after signing ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

He joined the Houston Rockets in December but played a limited role before getting waived in late February.

The longtime Sacramento Kings standout should have an opportunity to earn a more expansive role with the Clippers once he gets up to full speed with the team's system, and he explained after his brief cameo against the Blazers he's physically ready for whatever is thrown his way.

"I've put an incredible amount of work to get to this place," Cousins told reporters. "I feel great, my body feels great. I'm in probably the best shape I've been in my entire career. At this point, it's about going out there and just putting everything together and just trying to continue to show that I'm healthy and I'm here to play this game at a high level."

He added joining a team with two established stars in George and Kawhi Leonard lays the foundation for success.

"Obviously they have a two-headed snake in Kawhi and PG," Cousins said. "And obviously everybody else's job is to make their job easy. I think this is probably one of the most complete teams in the league. I just bring whatever I can to help this team and elevate it. I don't really see this team lacking much."

The Clippers are busy in the coming days with games against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, Rockets on Friday and Detroit Pistons on Sunday to finish their nine-game homestand.

Cousins' minutes should gradually increase, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him signed to a second 10-day contract and eventually a full-time deal if Ibaka remains out of the lineup.