Quinn Cook carried quite the burden heading into this season, as he was widely seen as the best shooter the Los Angeles Lakers employed at the point guard position. So, when he started the year slowly from deep, the team really felt it.
Tuesday night in the Lakers’ win in Chicago against the Bulls, Cook’s shooting from deep played a pivotal role in the Lakers miraculously somehow finding a way to come back while LeBron James and Anthony Davis watched from the sideline. He finished the game with 17 points, and most importantly was 3-4 from three, with each shot from deep feeling bigger than the last.
Cook explained to reporters after the win why he remained confident even through this season-starting slump (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“It’s law of averages, man. When you put that work in, six games in you don’t panic. Obviously we play under the spotlight, everything is closely watched. I’m used to that, coming from Golden State. I just know not to panic… I just want to play as hard as possible.”
His minutes probably haven’t been where he’d like them to be thus far as a result of his poor shooting, but he explained how he’s stayed ready nonetheless.
“If you throw yourself into winning and you’re just a selfless teammate, good things happen.”
On one play, James found himself spinning into the middle of the defense for a shot he’s probably made thousands of times. Rather than taking that shot, though, he saw Cook in the corner for a wide open three. Cook drilled it.
Here’s the play in question:
Words can’t describe how nervous I was when I saw LeBron pass up this shot for an open Cook. But man this felt huge when it went through. pic.twitter.com/z31u68b5rL— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) November 6, 2019
James walked reporters through that play, and why he made that pass despite Cook’s early season slide and the shot he had in front of him:
“QC is one of the best catch-and-shoot guys in the NBA, sitting in the corner. And he knocked it down.”
It’s always nice to get some credit from the team’s head coach. Frank Vogel also praised Cook effusively, especially for that ability to remain ready despite a somewhat minimized role:
“I love that kid. He works so hard and tries to do everything you tell him to do and he’s a good player. Alex’s defense has been exceptional of late so he’s been getting those minutes, but we’ve all been trying to make sure Quinn stays with it, and I told him when he came in ‘hey, every NBA game is different. One night you might get four or five minutes, the next you might get called upon to play a bigger role.’ That was tonight for him, and he stepped up big time.”
That he did, and if this effort is indicative of what might be to come, then the Lakers’ offense might finally start clicking the way they had hoped heading into the season.