After suffering a thumb injury in China, there were concerns that Anthony Davis might miss some time heading into the 2019-20 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Thankfully, it turned out to just be a sprain and Davis returned to the court and reminded why there is so much excitement after the team’s first preseason game.
However, this time it wasn’t his scoring but rather his playmaking that stood out. Davis scored just eight points, but had eight assists in 28 minutes as the Lakers again defeated the Golden State Warriors, 126-93.
Following the win, head coach Frank Vogel kept up the praise for the team’s newest All-Star player. He spoke about Davis’ playmaking, noting that it likely had to do with his overall growth as a player in this league.
“Well, I think that with any player their first couple of years in the league… the game is a little quick for them and when they enter their prime, the game really slows down for them so he’s able right now — at this point of his career — to really identify help either early on his catches or late on his drives to the basket,” Vogel explained.
“He’s recognizing help and where the extra pass is. He’s making great decisions. He’s a make-the-right-play kind of player.”
Davis’ playmaking was on display from the beginning as he took advantage of a pick-and-roll with LeBron James to find JaVale McGee for an easy lob early in the first quarter. He later ended the quarter with an outstanding pass to Alex Caruso for an easy layup.
Davis also had plenty of help from his shooters. The Lakers knocked down 50% of their three-pointers on the night, making the Warriors pay for paying too much attention to Davis and LeBron James — who led the Lakers with 11 assists of his own.
As a team, the Lakers had 33 assists, continuing to show where Vogel’s focus is in regards to the offense. As Vogel noted, it’s about not forcing and ultimately finding the open man. The Lakers have done that throughout the 2019 NBA preseason and if the shooters are hot as they were on this night, they will be tough to stop.
Davis taking advantage of that is especially important. James’ playmaking ability is well known but Davis is only just beginning to truly blossom as a passer.
If this night is any indication, Davis could be in for a career season hen it comes to assists.