Lakers News: Anthony Davis Not Focused On Winning Defensive Player Of The Year
Anthony Davis, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis completely dominated the paint against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night. The big man grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked six shots while altering numerous others, to go along with 20 points in the Lakers’ 14-point win.

It was another outstanding two-way performance for Davis, who is again proving that he is one of the premier defensive big men in the NBA. He currently ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounds and fifth in blocks and is one of just three players who are averaging at least two blocks and one steal per game.

With these kinds of numbers, it would seem like the Lakers big man would be one of the favorites to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, but that doesn’t look to be the case. But after being looked over for it a couple of times in his mind, Davis is no longer focused on winning that award.

“I feel like I should have won it a couple of times, but didn’t,” Davis said after the Lakers win. “At this point, I’m just trying to win (games). Continue to have a presence on the defensive end and if that seems to be in the plans for me, to win it this year, then obviously it’ll be exciting for me to have one of those under my belt. But, I feel like I got hustled out of a couple of them in my career. So, it is what it is.”

Davis’ first year with the Lakers in 2020 was undoubtedly one of those seasons in which he arguably should have won the award, but it went to Giannis Antetokounmpo instead. Davis got the last laugh that year, however, as the Lakers went on to win the NBA Championship.

The more important thing for Davis right now is the team and helping the Lakers win and his defensive presence is a huge part of that. Perhaps his biggest highlight against the Pistons was an outstanding block on Jaden Ivey during a Pistons 3-on-1 fast break and Davis broke down what happened on that play.

“I saw Duren on the other side and I knew they were probably gonna try to throw the lob. So I was just trying to fake a fade and bait him,” Davis said. “Then when I saw him kind of commit to the layup, I knew I could get the block. Just one of many special plays that I’ve had this year. Just trying to be a good defensive player. That’s all.”

The Lakers’ ability to be a strong defensive team is tied greatly to Davis’ performance on that end of the floor and he has delivered for the most part. Whether he wins the award or not, Davis’ spot as one of the best defensive players in the NBA is undeniable.

Anthony Davis: it’s important for Lakers to win last two games before All-Star break

The Lakers getting a win over the Pistons was the first step in what Anthony Davis knows is very important for the team going into the All-Star break. The Lakers face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and a victory there would be exactly what the Lakers need in Davis’ mind.

“It’s very important. We’ve built momentum, even in the loss against Denver we learned some things about ourselves, closing the gap in the standings,” Davis said. “So it’s gonna be two big games for us, not just moving up in the standings but also going into the All-Star break, finish the first half of the season and go into All-Star with two wins, it will feel good when you’re waiting seven or eight days to play.”

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