One of the early storylines for the Los Angeles Lakers this preseason is the general lack of representation on the 2023-24 edition of the NBA GM survey. L.A. was absent in a number of notable categories, but perhaps the most disrespected player was All-NBA center Anthony Davis.
Davis has been widely considered one of the best defenders in the NBA for several years now, as evidenced by his four All-NBA Defense team selections. But in this year’s survey, he was placed in the “also receiving votes” category for best defender in the league, and ranked fourth in the best interior defender category.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was given the opportunity to discuss Davis’ snub on the GM survey, and he took the chance to praise Davis for everything he does for L.A.’s defense.
“They’re entitled to their opinions, but all I know is he’s the heart and soul of our defense,” Ham said. “He allowed our defense to be right there in the top three and at No. 1 in certain stretches. Once the deadline passed, those things, the polls or people, whatever opinions, there’s a reason why they don’t really attach names to certain votes, but I don’t worry about that. I know what he is and what he means to our ballclub, and who he is when we go up against the other 29 teams.
“We just keep our heads down and continue to work and try to be the masters of our own plan.”
The Lakers have felt a general air of disrespect about their team since the beginning of the LeBron James and Davis era. When they won the 2019-20 NBA championship, they felt they weren’t properly represented in the regular season awards that season despite having the best record in the Western Conference.
Over the course of the James and Davis era, L.A. has allowed themselves to have a chip on their shoulder while balancing not letting the outside noise affect them. Ham, since the beginning of his head coaching tenure last season, has focused more on blocking out noise.
The Lakers are legitimate championship contenders entering the season for the first time since 2020-21, and any motivation they can latch onto is positive. If Davis takes the GM survey as an opportunity to be the dominant defender Lakers fans know he can be, then everyone surrounding L.A. wins.
Ham challenges Davis
On the other side of the court, Ham has issued a challenge to Davis to help increase his confidence with him jump shot. Ham wants Davis to attempt six 3-pointers per game, but is skeptical that Davis will actually reach that total.
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