Anthony Davis has been instrumental to the Los Angeles Lakers’ success as the team typically goes as far as he does. Ever since LeBron James paired with Davis, it has been about passing the torch to the big man as the four-time champion enters the latter stages of his career.
Injuries have always lingered for Davis throughout his time in the NBA, which carried over to L.A. when he was traded in 2019. He has largely struggled to remain healthy, only playing 60 games once through four full seasons with the Lakers.
When Davis is out of the lineup, his absence is felt and due to questionable backup play in Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood. Davis is providing more than a scoring punch, evident by a career-high 12.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.5 blocks, building an early resume for Defensive Player of the Year.
Head coach Darvin Ham was recently asked about his star being a candidate for the award and believes that Davis’ defense is not garnering enough appreciation, via Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet:
Darvin Ham asked about Anthony Davis as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate:
“He’s everything. He’s been elite. I don’t think it’s appreciated enough or highlighted enough. We’re nothing defensively without him.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 30, 2023
Ham is a coach who focuses on the defensive end, and to have a big man of Davis’ caliber who can erase anything at the rim and step out on the perimeter and hold his own is of great value.
After a tremendous postseason last year on the defensive end, Davis is building on that in the 32 games he has played so far this season. As a big man consistently in passing lanes and making highlight blocks, Davis should be the favorite or certainly in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year.
Last year’s winner was Memphis Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr., and Davis had his way with him in the first round, averaging an unreal 4.3 blocks in those six games against Memphis. While the Lakers’ big man is not focused on individual accolades, it is clear that he deserves to win this award at some point in his career.
Anthony Davis doesn’t care about outside criticism
While Ham believes Davis is not getting the necessary attention for his defense, the big man has received flack for his subpar games and missing time due to injury. However, the Lakers star does not care about the outside noise and what people have to say about him.
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