Anthony Davis Explains What He Learned About Lakers’ Struggles During Knee Rehab
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis had over a month to watch the Los Angeles Lakers from the sidelines and figure out the roots of the team’s struggles in 2021-22.

L.A. went 7-10 since Davis injured his knee in a mid-December loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In that stretch, the Lakers recorded a bottom-10 net rating, getting outscored by 2.7 points per 100 possessions.

The Purple and Gold underwhelmed even though LeBron James put up a staggering 32.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game, numbers he hasn’t registered since 2008.

“I think the most frustrating part was just that we’ll have really good games where we play great offensively and defensively, and then we’ll follow it up with a really bad game,” Davis said.

“But to see LeBron doing what he’s been doing is unreal. It’s just surprising because 19 years in, he’s still able to do what he’s doing. So it’s fun to watch, all of us are up cheering for him and he gets in these zones where he is just going in kill mode and it’s fun to watch.

“Especially just sitting on the sideline where you can examine it from afar and you really don’t have to lock in because I wasn’t playing, so it was just like now I’m a fan thinking ‘wow.’ It was fun to watch.

However admirable James’ performance has been, Davis said it’s time the Lakers take some of the burden off the four-time NBA champion’s shoulders.

“Now it’s trying to complement that where he doesn’t have to feel as much pressure and have to carry such a load,” he 28-year-old All-Star said. “It’s my job and Russ’ job and everybody’s job to kind of just take that pressure off him and just help him.”

Upon his return in Tuesday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets, Davis focused on anchoring the Lakers’ defense, which he saw suffering from a lack of communication during his time on the sidelines.

“Guys weren’t in the right position so I tried to come in tonight and just quarterback the whole defense,” Davis said. “And then also, the way we were playing offensively was really good. The things that we were doing, the adjustments that we made playing a five-out offense and guys running to set screens, Bron and Melo.

“It kind of confused people, so I tried to do the same thing in my first game back, wasn’t trying to get into too many isos or force up shots, trying to screen, roll and get guys in positions where the entire team could be successful. And I was able to do that tonight, we were able to do that tonight which led us to a win.”

Davis hopes his minutes restriction will be lifted soon

Davis spent just over 24 minutes on the floor against the Nets, as the Lakers want to carefully phase the forward back into the rotation. But the forward said he felt “fine” for the majority of the clash, hoping he will soon be able to put in his usual shifts for L.A.

“I feel ready,” Davis said. “We don’t practice much or don’t have much practice time, but was still able to get some one-on-ones and one-on-twos and see how it felt. I was ready enough to go tonight.

“I don’t know about the whole minute restriction thing. I think that might, for me, come off. I might tell them that I don’t need that, but we’ll see. I’ve got the back-to-back coming up and want to play that smart.”

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