Under head coach Frank Vogel, the Los Angeles Lakers have staked their claim as one of the best defensive units in the NBA. Much of that is based on the Lakers having a massive advantage over the 29 other teams because of Anthony Davis.
Davis has established himself as one of the league’s marquee defenders because of his ability to protect the rim, while also being able to stretch out to the perimeter and stifle players there.
Even after a shortened offseason, Los Angeles has continued to display they are a defense-first team and Davis has continued his dominance on that end.
In the team’s 94-92 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, Davis recorded a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds but also added an impressive three steals and three blocks.
After the game, Davis acknowledged that the Lakers defense will only go as far as he can take it, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Our team goes defensively as far as I go. I’ve got to be the one to bring the activity each and every night. I was able to do that tonight with my activity, getting deflections and protecting the rim. It carries on and trickles down to our other guys. ‘Bron is doing it, Trezz is doing it, Marc, Dennis is getting steals, Kuz and Wes. All our guys. Markieff protected the rim. We all play our part, but I take pride in making sure from the opening tip that I go out there and bring that energy on the defensive end with deflections and blocks.”
As the centerpiece of Vogel’s defense, Davis is responsible for ensuring each player is in the right place on the floor and cleaning up any mistakes that might happen on any given possession. With his blend of size, length and anticipation, the 27-year-old is often able to disrupt a team’s offensive flow and allow the Lakers to get out and score in transition.
Davis finished as the runner-up in last season’s Defensive Player of the Year voting, but has to be considered the frontrunner for the 2020-21 season so far. Even though Los Angeles has yet to hit its defensive ceiling, Davis is still affecting that end of the floor more than any other player in the league and he should finally get his due.
Wesley Matthews calls LeBron, Davis versatile defenders
Wesley Matthews is another defensive-minded player on the current Lakers roster and has begun to acclimate himself after a rough start to the season.
Playing alongside LeBron James and Davis has made Matthews’ job as a defender easy and the guard was complimentary of his teammates following their win against the Grizzlies. “Obviously those are two of the most versatile defenders and players that this game has seen,” Matthews said.
“Basically try to find where you fit, make sure you get out of the way when it’s time to get out of the way, but also be ready when it’s time to be ready. They’re two amazing players and they can definitely make the game easier for everybody on both ends of the court.”
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