They have the NBA’s second-best offense, which is to be expected in an offense led by Davis and James. However, where this team has surprised the most people is defensively where they currently rank No. 5 in the NBA — ahead of teams like the Los Angeles Clippers who many thought would be a juggernaut on that end.
The team’s success defensively starts with Davis, who is a candidate for the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Davis is averaging 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game and has given confidence to the team’s perimeter defenders by being a fierce inside presence.
Davis discussed what his role is for the Lakers during the 2019-20 NBA season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“My role is to be a leader alongside LeBron. It’s to help this team get as many wins as possible and try to reach our goal which is to win the championship. You know, we have a lot of work to do, I have to make sure I lead by example. And on the floor, my role starts with being the defensive anchor, and when I’m on the floor, get everyone talking and make sure I’m talking.”
It’s clear that Davis has been successful in this role so far as the Lakers are not only No. 5 defensively now, they’ve been in that top five all season and have been as high as first.
Moving forward, it will be up to Davis as that defensive anchor to make sure nobody gets complacent and allows the team to lose their edge on that end of the floor. When the Lakers are locked in defensively, they can reach another level as a team and it would be hard to beat them in a seven-game series.
The All-Star break will likely do well for the team as they’ve already shown signs of slippage.
Hopefully, this can be chalked up to fatigue and the issues will be resolved when the team returns to action on Feb. 21.