Lakers News: Darvin Ham Praises Anthony Davis For Growth As Leader & Injury Management
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the 2022-23 season, the Los Angeles Lakers already need to be careful with Anthony Davis.

Davis has been dealing with a sore back but the star has been fighting through the pain to play. Davis admitted he’s in a pretty good amount of pain but is doing his best to manage it so he can be available.

Darvin Ham spoke about Davis fighting through his back injury and recognizes him gutting it for the benefit of the team.

“He’s just really focused on being available for us,” Ham said before Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The things we do, a lot of it is mental, but we’re really efficient with our practice time and what we do during practice. Everything has a time clock put on it, we get in and out of drills very quickly, and we have an array of items on our menu for practice that we can go through and hit home pretty quick on what we want to show them and how we want them to respond. We show them the good, the bad and how we can constantly make adjustments to be even better at what we’re doing to correct some things as well.

“But his focus, again, just doing all the treatment and all these stretches, his diet, all of that, just being locked in in that fashion. The kid can play. He can get 20 and 10 in his sleep but the biggest thing with him, again, is him not just being available but being available at a high level. Yeah, his back situation is something we definitely need to manage but as we mentioned before, it’s something that he’s not gonna worsen himself by anything that he’s doing. He’s certainly exerting high levels of energy but he’s determined and focused to really play and be available for us as many games as possible. So you just see that determination in him.”

As far as his leadership goes, Ham highlighted Davis’ growth in this area. “I think he’s been great. One of the first things I told him the first time we had dinner after I got hired was that none of this is gonna work without you. Russ is gonna have a much better season, Bron is gonna be Bron, he’s gonna be great as usual, but you have to carry a big load for us. You’re the guy. Where you are in your career and the things you’ve been through, you should have a chip on your shoulder. It’s funny because we have t-shirts that say ‘chip’ right? For me, those letters stand for competitive hunger inspires performance, improves performance, increases performance.

“So that was the biggest thing I hit him with is that I believe in him. You have my upmost faith that you can turn this thing around after what you’ve been through the last couple years. Focus on your body, whatever you need don’t hesitate to reach out. And we’re gonna push you. I want you to be more of a commanding presence not just on the floor but with your teammates because AD is an easy-going guy, wants what’s right not only for himself but his teammates. He’s a great, great spirit, great soul, totally fun to be around and I think you see that translate on the floor the way he’s been going and fighting through different things at different moments of the game. He stretched out for an offensive rebound and hurt his back, I was getting ready to take him out and he waved me off and pushed through. So I see him growing right before our eyes as a leader and a guy that’s gonna lead by example and hold others accountable.”

Davis truly is the key for the Lakers this season and if he’s able to stay healthy then success should follow.

Despite a losing record, there are still positives to take away from how the Lakers have started the 2022-23 season. Russell Westbrook hasn’t lost faith in his team yet, saying he believes they’re heading in the right direction but just need to get healthy and whole.

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