The Los Angeles Lakers made one of the biggest moves of the 2019 NBA offseason when they traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
The price was steep, requiring Los Angeles to hand over Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, and multiple first-round draft picks. However, given Davis’ standing as one of the top talents in the league, the risk may be worth it.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane explains why Davis — despite his dominance — could be even better for the 2019-20 NBA season playing alongside LeBron James and a roster full of shooters the Lakers have assembled. It’s a scary thought for the rest of the league and one that should have Lakers fans in a frenzy.
There is no question that Davis is incredible as his mobility, size, and skill allows him to be a terror on the defensive end while providing him the ability to score on just about anyone. However, one area of his game that needs some refinement is his effectiveness in pick-and-roll situations where he ranked in just the 38th percentile.
Davis’ struggles stem from teams collapsing into the paint to stop him from cutting to the rim and the Pelicans — who ranked 24th in three-point percentage last season — didn’t have the right pieces to make them pay by knocking down open looks.
James and the Lakers learned all too well that a lack of floor spacing can be fatal to a team as they watched their playoff hopes slip away under a barrage of missed threes. They were even worse than the Pelicans, finishing 29th in the league in three-point shooting.
Not willing to let that stand, the Lakers targeted Danny Green, Quinn Cook, and Troy Daniels over the summer while also bringing in competent marksmen like Avery Bradley and Jared Dudley. With those pieces — added to incumbent shooters like Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a hopefully resurgent Kyle Kuzma — the Lakers should have the kind of floor spacing that Davis and James need to thrive.
With real shooting to kick out to, a James-Davis pick-and-roll could be absolutely deadly. Teams will be wary of leaving James to collapse onto Davis, but leaving snipers like Cook or Green open behind the three-point line won’t be enticing either. Having teams pick their poison should result in more open looks for Davis and thus better efficiency.
If Davis can indeed shore up the one weakness of his offensive game next season, then he should be a legitimate MVP candidate.
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