When the Los Angeles lakers flopped in their first season with LeBron James leading the roster, the front office moved to execute the long-expected trade, which brought Anthony Davis to the franchise.
Following the move, pundits were both skeptical about Pelinka’s ability to fill out a team around the superstar duo and weren’t sure how quickly James and Davis would mesh with each other. But, after a 52-19 season that saw terrific chemistry from the pair in addition to significant contributions from the back end of the roster, Pelinka was proven correct.
James guided Davis as both a basketball player and leader, and it led to the young forward making the final step to superstar status. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has seen the process unfold first hand and noted James treats Davis “like a big brother.”
“He’s pulling him along, challenging him when he needs to be challenged, talking out ways to cover things on the defensive end, showing him ways to attack offensively, how he can be used,” Vogel added.
“And maybe more than anything, setting a great example of his approach every day, the mental focus, attention to detail, the way he takes care of his body, all those types of things.”
Vogel had never coached players of James or Davis’ stature but found the transition to be more comfortable than expected. “It’s been one of our blessings this year,” he said.
“I don’t fully know, but I think they both just have a great way about them. They’re both easy going, they like to laugh and have fun, they both care about the game the same way. It’s just one of those things that worked out in our favor.”
The Lakers are one win from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, with Davis and James leading the way. From their interactions on the court and videos off the court, it’s evident the two enjoy being around each other.
If Davis does indeed re-sign with the Lakers long term, it could be a partnership that brings the city of Los Angeles highlights and championships for years to come.
Davis wows Vogel
Despite only playing 17 minutes because back spasms in the third quarter resulted in an early exit, Davis still finished a +37 in Game 4. “Just absolutely dominant,” Vogel said of the performance. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen +37 in 17 minutes.
“What he did defensively, he had one play where he had two deflections on both sides of the guy he was guarding and then dove on the floor and got a loose ball to get us going on the break. Several blocks, deflections, containment plays.
“He was just all over the place on the defensive end, and then he was making everything. Just a dominant performance to start the game for us.”
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