During the 2019-20 regular season, it was a rare occurrence to see Anthony Davis at the center position. Despite the Los Angeles Lakers being statistically dominant when he slide over to the 5, Davis and head coach Frank Vogel prioritized longterm health.
It was only in the playoffs that Davis began playing center a significant amount, and the results were terrifying for opposing teams. Davis at the 5 in lineups that included LeBron James simply caused problems in every round, as no team could match up with the size and speed of that group.
Because of this, Vogel would like to see Davis playing some mixture of power forward and center this season, even though Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol will take a majority of those minutes. “I think they can play at least the roles JaVale and Dwight did from a minutes standpoint, maybe more,” Vogel said of Harrell and Gasol.
“That’s something that will play out over the course of the season. We still would like to have a blend of A.D. playing at the 4 and 5. Our ability to shift back and forth in the playoffs was pivotal and important to us winning a championship. It’s something we’ll balance again this season.”
Davis said in the early stages of training camp he played some time at the 5, but will likely save it for certain circumstances once games begin. “These first couple days of camp we’ve toyed with it a little bit — me playing some 5, me playing some 4,” Davis said. “Obviously Marc is a Defensive Player of the Year, he can guard bigger guys. And Trezz is a fighter.
“We lost two guys in JaVale and Dwight who played our 5 spot, but I think we got two guys — and one is undersized but has a lot of dog and fight to play against anybody and guard anybody. And obviously in certain cases I’ll play the 5.
“We’ll mix it in, take it game by game and see what happens. We were very successful when I was at the 5, so maybe it’s something we wait for the playoffs again and during the course of the season just kind of toy with it.”
Lakers monitoring minutes for Davis, James
After holding Davis and James out from the first two preseason games, Vogel again reiterated the Lakers will closely monitor their minutes in the early going of the 2020-21 season. James did not play the final eight minutes of the preseason opener against the L.A. Clippers.
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