Anthony Davis has a lot to prove in 2022-23 after two average seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis won a championship ring in his first year in L.A., teaming up with LeBron James to form one of the best All-Star duos in NBA history. The forward averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 50.3% from the field and 33% from downtown in 2019-20.
However, Davis’ numbers tumbled over the next two campaigns. The eight-time All-Star particularly struggled to shoot the ball well, making just 22.9% of his triples and converting only 72.5% of his free-throw attempts.
Considering his slump, Davis received plenty of criticism when he said he hadn’t touched the ball in weeks earlier this summer. However, NBA insider Marc Stein reports the backlash generated by his comment seems to have motivated the forward to put in extra work in the gym:
Some potential good news for the aforementioned Lakers and the soon-to-be-extension-eligible James: Anthony Davis’ surprising disclosure in mid-June that he hadn’t shot a basketball since early April might have been a blessing in disguise. Davis, by all accounts, has been working out with increased diligence ever since his comments generated a wave of strong criticism.
Davis has been working on his jumper with shooting coach Chris Matthews a.k.a Lethal Shooter, ever since his controversial confession. In July, Matthews said the two were training every day from 4:50 a.m.
Davis’ hustle has prompted ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins to come up with a bold prediction — tipping the 29-year-old to win the MVP award next season.
Darvin Ham says Lakers will ‘take care of Anthony Davis
Davis’ struggles partly came from the number of injuries he suffered in the last two seasons. Since the title-winning 2019-20, the forward has missed about half of the Lakers’ games due to various health issues.
L.A.’s new head coach, Darvin Ham, has recognized Davis’ form will be key to the team’s title hopes and said the Purple and Gold will “make sure they take care of him, meet all of his needs physically and make sure he’s in a good space mentally, spiritually, but he’s the factor.”