With Darvin Ham as the head coach and Anthony Davis the centerpiece, the Los Angeles Lakers pride themselves on being a lockdown defensive team. The identity of the team during its playoff run last season was that of a defensive force, and it was expected to continue this year.
But despite the efforts of Davis, who has proven again to be one of the premier defenders in the NBA, the Lakers’ defense hasn’t been at the level anyone wants it to be.
While there have been stretches and games where the team shows what they are capable of, it hasn’t been seen on the court consistently.
Why this has been the case is unclear, but Davis has an idea. He believes the Lakers need to communicate better on that end of the floor and really focus on the little details, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“As far as the defensive end, our communication has to be better. We’ll talk about something and then go out and don’t do it. It’s a lot of ‘We’re supposed to do this but guys did this.’ Or guys are trying to do the right thing but it’s not the right thing as far as a coverage or a scheme. Those are the little details that can win or lose you a basketball game, 50-50 balls, hustle plays, all those things. So we got to just be better at that and really lock in on all the details and make sure that we do the little things and not beat ourselves.”
Communication is absolutely crucial on defense. The team needs to be on a string, in the right position, helping each other and rotating properly. Proper communication ensures the right coverages and while Davis is able to erase many mistakes defensively, a lack of communication ultimately leads to breakdowns and easy baskets for the opposition.
The Lakers have the pieces to be an elite defense. Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Max Christie are all excellent perimeter defenders, while the likes of LeBron James, Austin Reaves and even D’Angelo Russell at times are good team defenders who are excellent at being in the right spots in help coverage.
Combine that with Davis’ elite talent and there is no reason the Lakers can’t dominate on that end.
Anthony Davis: ‘Really important’ for Lakers to take advantage of January schedule
Something that will definitely change for the Lakers is their travel as they spent the majority of December on the road. But January will see the Lakers have a much more favorable schedule with plenty of home games, and Davis feels the Lakers have to take advantage.
Davis noted that the Lakers have been a pretty good home team and will now get the opportunity to sleep in their own beds and have some practice time as well. With the team dropping to .500, this month could see the Lakers get back on track and amongst the NBA’s elite if they can take care of business.
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