The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling out of the gates this season. And while the reflex is to find someone to blame — like Frank Vogel or Russell Westbrook — the truth is that almost no one has performed to their potential. This includes Anthony Davis, whose numbers appear solid on the surface but show some problems on a deeper dive.
Davis is shooting the worst 3-point percentage in NBA history — 16.7% — with at least two attempts per game and at least 20 games played. His midrange field goal percentage is the worst in the NBA among players with at least 100 attempts, and his jump shot field goal percentage is the worst in the NBA among those with 150 attempts.
These numbers are nowhere close to what Davis wants them to be, but Vogel is continuing to encourage him to shoot when he’s open.
“AD just started the season off struggling for whatever reason,” Vogel said. “We’re encouraging him to shoot open ones knowing that it’s gonna come around. It just hasn’t yet. It’s just part of our early-season struggles. When he starts knocking them down the way he’s done the last few years, it’s gonna open up a lot of things for our team.”
Overall, Davis is still shooting 51.1% from the field and 55.4% from 2-point range. This not only shows how bad he has been shooting the ball from farther distances but also how dominant he’s been at the rim. Davis has the best field goal percentage within five feet of any player in the NBA averaging at least six attempts per game.
That elite production near the rim has carried him this season and has given him solid averages of 24.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks. New NBA officiating rules have resulted in fewer free throw attempts, but in continuing with his bad shooting trends, he holds the worst free-throw mark of his career.
Vogel and the Lakers will remain confident that his shooting will turn around, and it essentially has to. If L.A. wants to continue playing a true center alongside Davis, it requires him to make shots away from the rim. Otherwise, the paint will be immensely clogged for Westbrook and LeBron James.
Davis acknowledges Lakers frustration
After a horrible three-overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings, Davis admitted that the entire team is feeling frustrated about their results. “We’re very frustrated,” Davis said. “Wanted to come home and win games, that was the first game after the long road trip. But that’s a game we definitely could’ve won.
“We made some mistakes, granted they hit some tough shots so credit to them down the stretch. They hit some tough shots, but it’s a game that we had control of in the fourth and let it get away. And then overtimes did enough, and then once again they made some tough shots, made some big plays.”
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