In the eyes of many, the success of the Los Angeles Lakers this season will fall in large part on the shoulders of Anthony Davis. The big man remains one of the most talented players in the NBA but he has been unable to stay on the court consistently over the past couple of seasons.
Davis came into this season healthy but was held out of a couple of games during the preseason with lower back tightness leading many to be concerned about his health. But Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has continually said that Davis is not in any danger of missing the start of the regular season and now has given some more positive news about the star big man.
According to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, Davis will start this season with no restrictions and will play Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors:
Darvin Ham says Anthony Davis will not start the seasons with any restrictions. He’s expected to start Tuesday night against Golden State.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 16, 2022
This is great news to hear for Davis whose injury history is well-known at this point. This is in line with everything Ham has said throughout the past couple of weeks, but there is always extra concern when it comes to Davis. Since his outstanding run in helping to lead the Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship, Davis has missed more than half the Lakers’ games the past two years.
For his part, Davis has looked great this preseason, much closer to his 2020 form, averaging 19.3 points and 9 rebounds. He is also moving much better and has shed the extra bulk he put on last season. Davis will not only be a focal point offensively for the Lakers, but is also the team’s anchor on defense so he has a lot on his plate.
If the Lakers plan on surprising some teams this year, Davis will have to dominate on both ends of the court so the fact that there are no issues going into this season is a good start.
Ham encouraged by Anthony Davis’ commitment to defense
The defensive side of the court is what Ham expects to be the identity of this Lakers team. He has his plans in place and has been encouraged by what he’s seen from Anthony Davis on that end.
“But I’m seeing him just commit and again, communicate with the coaches, making sure that he knows where he has to be,” Ham said about Davis. “We spent a lot of time in our pick-and-roll coverage and center field to make him comfortable.
“We know he can switch and move his feet, but it’s a lot of times where we’re gonna be playing small and he’s gonna have to be back and be a rim protector. Maybe a designated player on the opposing team that he’s guarding which allows him to be the help guy every single time on defense. So I just see him not being stubborn about it, he’s actually being open and embracing a new challenge and trying to execute on that end of the floor.”
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