Since Anthony Davis was sidelined with an MCL injury, the Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the worst defensive units in the NBA.
The Lakers were just blown out by the Denver Nuggets, a matchup where Davis could have certainly helped against a player like Nikola Jokic. The star big man was recently seen shooting jumpers prior to the team’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, which means he could return soon, but L.A. has work to do to catch up in the standings.
How Davis looks physically when he finally makes his return will be interesting given how much time he has been away. However, it seems as though he did his due diligence in trying to keep his cardio up as Jared Dudley revealed on the “Underdogs Podcast” that he called him to discuss what he did to lose weight when the now Dallas Mavericks assistant coach suffered the same MCL injury last season:
“I lose 20 pounds in-season, which is almost impossible to do that at the time for the Lakers, and I’m not even playing. It’s so funny, now AD has the same injury now and now he’s calling me ‘Hey, what did you do?’ Cause he saw me. ‘Jared’s in the weight room doing cardio an hour before practice. He’s sweating and now it’s practice time.’ And I don’t get to practice. It’s the top ten guys. But he sees me going crazy and now practice is over, now I’m in the weight room doing stuff for my knee.”
With the Lakers shifting to a small ball identity, it makes sense why Davis would try to shed some pounds despite playing more minutes at center. Davis entered the 2021-22 season noticeably bulkier, but he and the team may feel it is best for him to go back to his leaner frame in order to keep up with the pace of play on both ends of the floor.
Head coach Frank Vogel previously revealed that his center rotation would consist of Davis and LeBron James when the former is back, so it will be interesting to see whether or not Davis took up Dudley’s advice on slimming down midseason.
LeBron James emphasizes Lakers need to continue building better defensive habits
Defensively, the Lakers seem lost right now as they have been prone to giving up huge scoring nights to opposing teams. In that vein, James stressed that the team as a whole needs to focus on building better defensive habits.
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