Whenever Anthony Davis has been able to stay healthy, he has been a dominant force on both ends of the floor for the Los Angeles Lakers.
That was the case on Tuesday night when Davis had 30 points, 22 rebounds and pair of blocks in the Lakers’ win over the Memphis Grizzlies. After missing some time with a foot injury, Davis has gotten back to being his dominant self in recent weeks.
It took him some time to get his rhythm back, but in his last five games, Davis has averaged 33 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.8 blocks for the Lakers.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is among those that have been impressed by Davis, even giving him a nickname after franchise legend Wilt Chamberlain.
“That’s my nickname for him, Wilt Davis. He was definitely that tonight,” Ham said. “I think you look at the seven turnovers, he’s just trying to play the right way and be unselfish. I just gave him a stern warning for the rest of the game if you catch it in the paint, you got to put that thing on the rim. It’s just like what my old, great coach Larry Brown used to say, if you got people in an offensive rebounding position, put it on the glass just like a pass. But he was awesome, man. In spite of everything we’ve been going through all season, like I said before, he’s been a solid rock and he proved it again tonight.
“He wants to be out there with his teammates and wants to be out there fighting. Him, Dennis, Austin, all those guys, Troy Brown, they really stepped up and played big defensively. Our entire team wholeheartedly chipped in in some way.”
Ham revealed that he first thought of calling Davis by the nickname during the summer, although he started actually using it after the big man’s dominant stretch early in the season.
“Early on in the summer. That’s when I was like ‘I got a nickname for you.’ And I didn’t really unveil it, but especially when he went on that tear early on when I think it was 10 games or something like that, that’s when it really came out. Full-blown Wilt Davis. He’s playing like a monster, man. It’s so much fun to watch him play free and play happy and just make plays all over the places whether it’s 3s, finding the open man, doing a little bit of everything. He’s been tremendous.”
Davis himself is as humble as they come, but he was honored to be called Wilt by his head coach knowing how great of a career Chamberlain had.
“I don’t even know when that started. I think it was on my stretch before. I don’t know. I mean, obviously, it’s an honor,” Davis said. “Wilt [Chamberlain], I mean, the things he’s done in this league is unreal. … For Coach to think that he’s been around for a long time and seen a lot of players as a player and as a coach. For him to think that obviously, it’s an honor.
“But you got to continue to keep playing this style of basketball and just keep winning and let the rest take care of itself, but for him to call me that it’s funny, but it’s also an honor.”
Davis hopes to have jersey retired one day
Chamberlain is one of the few to have their number retired by the Lakers, and another player joined that club on Tuesday night with Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey going into the rafters.
Davis obviously still has a long way to go in his career, but he revealed that he told Gasol that he hopes to have his No. 3 jersey up there one day too.
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