Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 to team up with LeBron James and bring a championship to the city. While they did that the first season together, Lakers fans are anxious for the franchise’s 18th championship to break the tie with the rival Boston Celtics.
Davis’ injuries concerns are well known and it has not been a secret that he has struggled to be on the court the past three seasons, only playing 36 games in the 2020-21 season, 40 games the following season and then 56 games last season. But, Davis signed an extension this offseason to remain with the Lakers long-term and Rob Pelinka believes in him to be a building block for the organization for years to come.
However, Pelinka continued to surround Davis and James with quality role players after getting swept in the Western Conference Finals and on paper, L.A. got much better. Austin Reaves made an appearance on ESPN Zach Lowe’s podcast, ‘The Lowe Post’ to talk about Davis as a player and teammate, expecting big things from him this season:
“Yeah, for sure, I think that he’ll shoot the ball a lot better this year and I think he’ll have more attempts. But, also to speak on, you know, he would have 38 [points], then he’d have 15. But like you said, defensively, obviously, he’s the best defensive player I’ve ever played with. But, like just knowing that he’s back there, in the playoffs especially. You can be so much more aggressive and even if he don’t block shots, he’s going to alter shots. I remember my first training camp, I never had a problem getting by whoever was guarding me, but I was never on the starting team, so AD was always down there. I would get to the lane, ‘Oh, I got a layup,’ and I’d go up for a layup and I’d just be lost, I’d turn it over because I did not know what to do with it. But, also the offensive side of all that, we have so much talent. Obviously with Bron, D’Lo, Rui [Hachimura] was playing really well, like AD is not a selfish guy at all, like he wants to win. So, those nights, you know score mid-teens, 15, 16, 17, 18, whatever it was, somebody else probably had it going. It’s not like he’s going to the bench bickering about touches and stuff like that, just because someone else is having success, he don’t care about that. He just wants to win.”
During last season’s playoff run, Davis truly showed how dominant a defensive player he was, especially in the first round going up against reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Memphis Grizzlies. Averaging 3.1 blocks during the Lakers 16-game postseason run, the expectation is for him to continue that dominance this upcoming season.
Reaves had spoken highly about his teammate and now entering training camp with a balanced and deep roster, it should greatly help Davis’ and James’ workload during the regular season. But, when it comes to winning a championship, it starts with the big man and his play on both sides of the ball.
It remains to be seen if Davis will improve his jump shot, but all indications are that it has looked good in recent workouts.
Reaves argues that Lakers have most talented roster in NBA
After an impressive postseason run, Pelinka knew that he had to improve the team around the margins and he did that. With re-signing guys from last season and bringing in new faces, Reaves believes the Lakers have the most talented roster in the league.
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