DeMarcus Cousins’ bold claim amid James Harden drama

All the drama surrounding the Houston Rockets hasn’t dampened DeMarcus Cousins’ optimism.

The Rockets are still seeking their first win of the 2020-21 season and several key players—including Cousins—have yet to play due to COVID-19 concerns. The team’s best player, James Harden, continues to seek a trade.

Nevertheless, Cousins is hopeful about Houston’s standing in the Western Conference.

“I think we’re absolutely a threat,” Cousins said, via Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “Obviously it’s a narrative around our team right now which is gaining attention. But I think we can compete in the West, we’ll fly under the radar.”

Flying under the radar may be challenging as long as Harden trade rumors swirl, but Cousins has reasons to be optimistic.

Newly signed forward Christian Wood looks like a Most Improved Player of the Year candidate, averaging 27.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. The Rockets are still awaiting the debuts of Cousins and John Wall, who played well in preseason.

Fortunately, Wall and Cousins are set to take the floor for the first time as members of the Houston Rockets on Thursday, in a matchup against the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center. Cousins and Wall rejoined the team on Wednesday after a week in quarantine.

“It was so good to just have everybody there,” first-year head coach Stephen Silas said, via NBA.com. “You obviously miss the talent and the ability that those guys have, but you also miss the personalities that they [have], and the smarts that they bring to these situations. During the film session it was great to have those guys chiming in and chirping as we go through the film. It was really, really good to have those guys back.”

Wings Ben McLemore and K.J. Martin are still going through the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

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