Through the opening weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are winning with their depth.
Beyond the star power of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, L.A. has used the unique skillsets of Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and others to find success. No one on the roster is averaging more than 33 minutes per game, with Davis right at that number.
It’s also why Davis and James, who combined for 51.4 points per game on average last season, are at 45.3 thus far. In addition to all of this, Davis is averaging a career-high 3.5 assists per game, which is certainly a solid number for someone of his position and offensive repertoire.
“I’m just trying to add more to my game,” Davis said. “I know a lot of teams try to double just to give me a different look and not score. The best way to beat a double-team is to find the open guy, and our guys are making shots. I’ve just got to do my job of drawing a double, and once I do that, find the right guy.”
“I’ve got to make the read. That’s how you make the team better. I haven’t been scoring like you guys are used to but I’ve been making the right plays and finding my teammates, who have been doing a great job of knocking down shots.”
Davis further attributed his growth in passing to Gasol’s arrival. “I’ve been learning a lot as far as a passing big from the top, the elbow, from the post,” Davis said. “Just trying to figure out ways to steal that from him and also ‘Bron talking to me about that over the last couple years. Just trying to get better and continuously add to my game.”
Gasol’s age has certainly slowed down his athleticism, but he proves on a nightly bases why he is still a valuable big man in the NBA. He is one of the most intelligent players on the court and provides open looks for players with ease while operating from the high post.
Per 36 minutes, Gasol is third on the team in assists, only behind James and Dennis Schroder. If Davis can add a consistent passing element into his game, he becomes that much more unstoppable, as he has already proven to be one of the NBA’s most gifted players.
James sees value in running offense through Gasol
James is one of the greatest passers and floor generals in the history of basketball, yet he has seemed very comfortable to let others run the offense so far this season. One of those options is operating through Gasol in the high post.
“I just think playing through him a lot more. When we do that, we’re very good because of his ability to see the floor and pass the ball,” James said.
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