But then came the All-Star break, a somewhat surprising trip to the Rising Stars Challenge, and, as Precious Achiuwa’s longtime trainer Kenneth Miller said, a newfound confidence for the young Raptor. From late February on, Achiuwa hit a stride and didn’t look back. His three-point percentage took off, his decision-making was more refined, and his offense was much improved. “I think kind of after the all-star break … he got a good feeling like, okay, I feel like I can fit here, I belong here,” Miller said. “That was a coming-out party for him, and he’s just been building on it ever since.”
October 5, 2022 | 12:55 pm EDT Update
“It would mean everything in the world to me to be back in the NBA,” DeMarcus Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “I know I belong in this league. I feel like I’ve paid my dues and earned my stripes. I’ve hit some bumps in the road with injuries and I’ve always worked my way back to be 100 percent healthy. I’ve worked my tail off to get back to this point. I just want the opportunity to show the work I’ve put in and continue to put in. I also just want an opportunity to also earn my keep and that’s all I really want. I have a lot left in the tank. A whole lot. I feel like I’ve actually become an even better player, just sharpening all my skills. I’ve had nothing but time in the gym. I’ve gotten better in all aspects of my game.
But NBA executives continue to have questions about his character and what he brings to a locker room. In a phone interview with Yahoo Sports from his home in Las Vegas, the 6-foot-10 center sought to provide answers to those questions. “Have I made mistakes? Absolutely,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked. And obviously, whenever it gets to the point where the negatives outweigh the positives, you should probably move away from him. That’s just how life goes. But I don’t believe I’m in that boat. I’m just asking for a chance to show my growth as a man and a player.”
Cousins said he’s working out every day from basketball drill sessions, conditioning, weight lifting and body maintenance. He’s doing it all without a guarantee of ever touching an NBA court again. But that’s his motivation. “I’m just trying to control what I can control,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “This process can get repetitive and get to the point where it can kind of drive you crazy, but you just have to fall in love with the process. Every day I’m working out to make sure I’m better than I was the previous day. So whenever the opportunity does come about and my name is called upon, I’ll be prepared.”
Christos Tsaltas: Wizards guard/forward Corey Kispert will miss approximately 4-6 weeks due to a sprained left ankle. Kispert suffered the injury after stepping on an opponent’s foot during the first quarter of Sunday’s preseason game in Japan vs. the Golden State Warriors. #DCAboveAll
October 5, 2022 | 12:40 pm EDT Update
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ ongoing battle for the starting small forward spot will be one player short in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Sources tell cleveland.com Dylan Windler did not make the trip for the preseason opener against the 76ers because of an injured right ankle suffered near the end of practice Tuesday. Windler stayed back in Cleveland for treatment. A source says the right ankle injury is considered “minor.”
Shaquille O’Neal brought up the topic of James and him closing in on Abdul-Jabbar’s record on the show “IMPAULSIVE” (at the 26:42 mark) and said that James passing Abdul-Jabbar’s record actually has him jealous. “LeBron’s about to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time and I think he will put his move up there,” Shaquille O’Neal said. “To pass up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I can truthfully say I’m jealous of that feat.” Although he said that Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever in his eyes, he had plenty of praise for LeBron James and the record he is about to break.