We already knew that Quinn Cook — who grew up a big Lakers fan — would be excited for his first season with the team. But it sounds like just as much as his childhood fandom, how much his teammates have already made him feel wanted and like a part of the team have him even more ready for the 2019-20 campaign to get started.
It was similarly already known that one of Cook’s mentors, LeBron James, had recruited him to the team and asked Rob Pelinka to make the signing happen. But apparently he wasn’t the only one, as Cook told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that Anthony Davis may have played just as integral of a role in him coming to Los Angeles:
You also played with Anthony Davis on the Pelicans in 2016-17. DeMarcus Cousins was there too, and then you obviously played with Cousins last year. I remember you spent a lot of time with Davis and Cousins during the summer of 2017 too, working out with them in Las Vegas a lot. How excited are you to reunite with Davis and Cousins?
QC: It’s so exciting. AD was the first person to call me during the free-agency process. We talked so much during the process (laughs). When Golden State withdrew my qualifying offer, [he reached out]. He’s a big, big, big, big reason why I’m in L.A. now. We had been close since high school, playing together as McDonald’s All-Americans and with Team USA and playing against each other on the circuit. We always stayed in contact over the years and then we obviously reunited in New Orleans in 2016-17. He’s always been one of my best friends in the league and we’ve always kept in touch. It’s going to be extremely cool to be back around him on a daily basis.
DeMarcus and I spent the last year together and you obviously know our relationship. I think we have a lot to prove because of how our season ended last year. We’ve been motivating each other all summer and communicating all summer; we were doing that even before we knew that we’d end up together again! It just so happened that everything worked out that way. I’m so happy to get back with DeMarcus. I know he’s excited to get the season going too.
That kind of chemistry is intangible, but it’s hard not to view it as the type of x-factor that could allow this Lakers team to be greater than the sum of its parts. Another factor in that? According to Cook, he’s already talking with the coaching staff and working out with James, among others, as the team preps for the season as a unit long before training camp starts.
You’re still developing and trying to improve, so what aspects of your game are you working on this offseason? And with so many new faces on the Lakers, do you guys have plans to work out as a team this summer and start getting everyone acclimated?
QC: I took some time off after the season, but I was still keeping my body right. Now, I’m back all the way, doing two-a-days and sometimes three-a-days. I’m working smarter now after learning from different vets and trainers and coaches I’ve been with. I’m working a lot smarter this summer, but I’m still going hard and trying to improve my entire game. I just want to become an even more consistent player off the bench – even better than I was last year. When I had an opportunity to play extended minutes last year, I thought I played extremely well and I want to keep adding to that.
We have our team group chat going and the guys are very active in it. It feels like this team has been together for a while. Everyone has been really active in the group chat. Ever since I signed, I went straight to Los Angeles and I’ve been working out with Bron, Kuz, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale [McGee]. We’ve been working on a lot of stuff and I’m getting a chance to learn from the coaching staff, getting a chance to talk to Coach Vogel a lot and work out with Coach [Miles] Simon. Everyone has been so welcoming since day one when I signed. I know the other guys will start to trickle in; it’s still really early in the summer. As guys trickle in, we’ll keep working hard and getting ready for the season. All of the guys are really excited to get things going, man. I know this NBA season will be one of the better ones for everyone – from players to coaches to fans. If you’re a fan of basketball, this season will be amazing.
It’s hard not to view this as a great sign for the Lakers this year. Not every NBA team is already working out together in July, months before they officially have to return to work as a group. Almost every guy is getting in individual work, sure, but Cook makes it sound like this rebuilt roster is already communicating and collaborating like a group of guys that have been together forever, and part of the reason might be the connections between guys like Cook, James and Davis from other places.
Again, that kind of chemistry can’t be quantified, but it might be the type of glue that can push an already promising Lakers team over the top. There is still a long way to go towards that, obviously, and it’s true that it’s easy to say all the right things in July, but it’s still going to be difficult to not see stuff like this and say that the season is already off to a promising start.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.