Rejuvenated in a new environment

Here's what a reunited John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins could look like for Rockets

If anything, this season will be interesting. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Wednesday night, the Houston Rockets acquired John Wall from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The trade included a lottery protected 2023 draft pick, which is almost two-years from now. Wall also joins his childhood best friend and college teammate from the University of Kentucky, DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with the Rockets last week. Cousins and Wall have not been healthy in three years and have missed a serious amount of time.

Twitter Image via:Twitter/Screenshot

The four-time All-Star, Cousins, has not played a complete season since 2016-2017 when he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans from the Sacramento Kings. In the 2017-2018 season with the Pelicans, Cousins was off to a ferocious start. Cousins averaged 25.2 points per game, 13 rebounds, 5.4 assists, shot 35.4 percent from the perimeter, and was efficient around mid-range shooting 53 percent. He became unstoppable inside the paint hitting 61 percent within the restricted area and 47 percent from the field. Cousins was on pace to become an All-Star again before his Achilles injury.

This injury became crucial for Cousins because it prevented him from getting a max-contract with the Pelicans the following season. The Pelicans gave Cousins a two-year 40 million-dollar offer which he declined. Cousins tested free agency and was recruited by the 2017-2018 champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Cousins played just 30 games with the Warriors but still averaged 16.3 points per game, 8.2 rebounds, but only shot 28 percent from the perimeter. Cousins wasn't as effective as he was in his previous years with the Kings and Pelicans. So, Cousins headed right back to free agency this time signing with the Lakers who became champions in the 2019-2020 season.

Before the season during a workout in Las Vegas, Cousins tour his ACL which caused him to miss the season. Midway through the year the Lakers released Cousins after signing Dwight Howard.

Hopefully, things are different with the Rockets after Cousins told the media at the press conference Thursday he was completely healthy. Cousins is great at stretching the floor, shooting from the perimeter, and being a dominant force inside the paint.

"Man, I feel incredible. Obviously, it was a tough task mentally, physically, but at the same time I was able to rest my body, a much-needed rest, as Cousins emphasized at the press conference Thursday. "Coming back off of that has been incredible. My body is in a great place, my mind is in a great place, and I'm just ready to get back on the floor and play basketball. Play the game I love."

DeMarcus Cousins IS BACK! Boogie Cousins Training For New NBA Season And Looking Better Than Ever Boogie Cousins is back!

John Wall's role on the team will be critical because he loves passing the ball which wasn't a strength for Westbrook. The only problem with Wall was the absence he had from basketball for two years. Second guessing the ability of Wall could be a mistake. Wall is a five-time All-Star and made the All-Defensive Second Team in the 2014-2015 season. Before Wall got hurt with the Wizards, in the 2018-2019 season, he averaged 20 points per game, 8.7 assists, and shot a career-high from mid-range of 50 percent.

John Wall Offseason Workout - 10/28/20 Here's a look at some of John Wall's offseason workouts.

Wall also shot a career-high 37 percent from the perimeter in the 2017-2018 season. He shoots the three-ball at 32.4 percent for a career average, which is better than Westbrook's 30 percent. Wall wants to become a better shooter from the perimeter this season, so he has been working on that during the offseason. He will become big factor on offense if he pays dividends from the perimeter. Wall mostly relied on his athleticism, which was his blazing speed and quickness like Westbrook. His playmaking skills are truly fun to watch as he averages 9.2 assists per game for his career. Hopefully, that Achilles injury is behind him and won't impact his play moving forward. Below are some takeaways from Adrian Wojnarowski.

Even though Wall has missed two years of basketball, he has worked his way back into shape. Kevin Durant was impressed with Wall's offseason in Miami. "He looked amazing to me. He looked great," Durant said during day one of Media Week. "I know he wants to go out there and play great basketball." Wall was seen with Harden and PJ Tucker during pickup games at Remy's Gym in Miami.

James Harden vs John Wall & Michael Beasley Insane Battle At RemyWorkouts Gym!


One surprising twist

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that Wall and Harden want to play together in Houston. Both sides seem to be invested since there were early concerns that Harden could be upset with the acquisition of Wall. Harden reportedly preferred Wall to Westbrook this season, which on the surface seems odd because of their history as friends.

Hopefully, the Rockets get the past versions of Wall and Cousins if not better. Wall and Cousins both say they're completely healthy and anxious to play basketball again.

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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