Former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins told The Sacramento Bee that his Team USA experience will make him a better player this season with the Kings.
"I feel like I added a lot to my game, especially defensively," Cousins said Friday during the team's media day. "I have the confidence to know I really can do it on the defensive end, as well as the offensive end. I learned a lot from it, it was an incredible experience."
In 13.9 minutes per game in the World Cup in Spain, Cousins averaged 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks to go with 9.8 points.
The newspaper reported that the Kings' leadership was impressed with the energy Cousins played with during the tournament.
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"I want to share some of the knowledge I got from Team USA with some of my teammates," Cousins said. "... I'm extremely excited about training camp."
Playing in the World Cup has enabled Cousins to start training camp in as good a shape as he's been to start a season as a pro. He said he hasn't fully recuperated from the experience, though.
"(I'm) a little more banged up, a little more tired but the advantage I have is more of a game-ready shape than I usually am coming into a training camp," Cousins said.
GM expects Randle to need time to adjust
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak doesn't want to put too much pressure too soon on first-round draft pick Julius Randle. He told the Los Angeles Daily News that he expects the former University of Kentucky standout will encounter a few bumps in the road during his rookie season.
"There are going to be moments where he plays just great and then there will be moments he gets a rebound, brings the ball down the court and commits an offensive foul, gets a defensive foul, drops his head, gets frustrated and gets a technical foul," Kupchak said Friday. "Then there will be moments he will just be great."
And while Kupchak expects great things from Randle, a spot in the starting lineup on the opening night is no guarantee. Coach Byron Scott currently has Carlos Boozer penciled in to start at power forward.
Kupchak told the Daily News that adding Boozer in the offseason wasn't a move made in case Randle did not develop as quickly as the team hopes.
"It was more geared toward trying to win," Kupchak said. "We didn't put in a bid for Carlos, and maybe he can help. Carlos is 32. ... It's not like this is his last year and he wants to teach Julius how to play. He wants to play. But that will be a benefit. We got Carlos. No disrespect to Julius. We didn't decide he's not going to help us this year so let's get a veteran. We got him hoping he can help us win games this year. Whatever gets Julius gets, he's going to have to earn."