Anthony Davis’ Impact on the Lakers

(Image/AP Photo/Nam Huh)

With the playoffs within sight, how big of an impact does Defensive Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis have on the Los Angeles Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers ever nearing the end of the current regular season campaign. With Championship or bust aspirations and winning a record tying 17 titles for the late great Kobe Bryant on their minds. The Lakers should be locked in for the remainder of the season.

A crucial part of the pursuit for the 17th ring will be Anthony Davis.

Davis was front and center during the 2020 All-Star game. Playing in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. He took the game winning free throw to win the game for Team LeBron.

Alongside the likes of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Davis and Co. upped the intensity in the second half and the 4th quarter was full of grit and determination and was a great tribute to Bryant’s ethic and mentality. Although many critics complained it ended on a free throw, it was quite a fitting ending as Bryant started and ended his career from the line. 

R.I.P Mamba.

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(Image/Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Davis has shown that the steep price the Lakers paid for his services has been worth every cent. Davis is having an excellent season for the purple and gold. The perennial All-Star is boasting an impressive +4.3 PIPM (Goldstein’s PIPM) score. This is evident when looking at his exceptional defense; Davis is staking his claim for DPOY with a huge 2.4 blocks per game, as well as 1.6 steals.

Alongside JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, Davis and the Lakers allow minimal points in the paint. This and along with some great perimeter defense equates to the Lakers currently being a top-5 defensive set-up.

On the offence, Davis is averaging a sensational 26.6 points and is fulfilling the role of being one of the best two-way players in the league. He is getting to the line more often and is attempting his 2nd highest free-throw attempts of his career this season whilst hitting a career high in percentage (85.3%). 

Davis has been a monster in the paint this season but he is also stepping up his long-range game and is causing opponents to respect that aspect of his arsenal.

After being persuaded to take more 3s, he has put this into action whilst still maintaining an above average efficiency and this is important when playing alongside LeBron James as creating space and having a threat from deep is crucial to fulfilling the team’s potential.  

The 26-year-old is shooting a below average 31.6% on 3.4 attempts. While his shooting percentage is not at league average, he is still hitting the 3-point shot with enough consistency to force teams to respect his outside game.

Look at the game against the Denver Nuggets just before All-Star weekend to assess the impact Davis is having on the team. Davis put on an exhibition and this was evident as he finished with 33 points (50% from 3), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

In overtime he sank two threes with assists from James to put the pressure on Denver, then shuts out the game by calmly hitting both free throws. His defence on the Nikola Jokić was nothing short of exceptional and was key to the win.

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(Image/Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

While Davis’ impact has been felt hugely in 1st half of the season, we can expect for Davis to step it up even further post All-Star break with the Lakers looking to nail down the top seed in the Western Conference.

With the last stretch to go before playoffs it’s going to be an exciting watch as we see the Lake Show dismantle teams at Davis and James’ mercy.  

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