From the moment he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, superstar big man Anthony Davis has been open about his desire to not play center full time. Last season, the team’s roster necessitated Davis at the center, but the front office wanted to add some options that would allow him to slide to power forward at times. The team is still looking to add another big, but the one they have added this summer is Jaxson Hayes.
A former lottery pick in 2019, Hayes is an extremely athletic big who can run the floor and finish at the rim while offering some rim protection as well. He has yet to be able to put it all together in his four years in the NBA, however, but the Lakers are hopeful they will be able to unlock his potential, ideally next to Davis.
In fact, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers are hopeful Hayes will be able to start at center and play a big role for the team next to Davis in two-big man lineups:
That’s before mentioning Jaxson Hayes, who the team is hopeful can start and play a prominent role with Davis in two-big lineups.
Of course when the Lakers won the 2020 NBA Championship it was with Davis primarily playing power forward with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard logging the majority of center minutes. Rob Pelinka has spoken about his desire to replicate that to some degree and that surely appeals to Davis.
Lightening the wear and tear that Davis takes throughout the regular season is a priority, and rightfully so, but Davis and Hayes together starting together would have some serious effects on the rest of the lineup. Most notably, it would force LeBron James to play more minutes at small forward and force him to have to defend one of the opposition’s best wings, which is something he doesn’t need on his plate at this stage of his career.
It would also have a huge effect on the Lakers spacing, especially if LeBron continues to struggle from 3-point range as he did last season. Likewise, Davis has not been a consistent threat from deep either meaning such a lineup would allow teams to cram the paint defensively.
Hayes playing a prominent role on this team would be great as the Lakers badly needed more size last season and there are certainly times where he and Davis could share the court together. But a starting spot is difficult to fathom considering the makeup of this roster.
Anthony Davis expected to sign extension with Lakers before season begins
Ultimately, making Davis happy is something the Lakers want to continue to do as they see him as a cornerstone of this franchise presently and in the future. As it stands, Davis has an early termination option on his contract after this season, meaning he could be a free agent next summer, but expectations are that he won’t be going anywhere.
Recent reports suggest that the Lakers view Davis as someone who has represented the franchise extremely well since coming over and want him around moving forward, so expectations are that the two sides will agree to a contract extension before training camp begins.
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