The start of Anthony Davis’ career with the Los Angeles Lakers has gone almost flawlessly. Despite some concerns over a banged-up shoulder and ribs, Davis has been playing like the Defensive Player of the Year, anchoring the Lakers’ top-ranked defense while helping lead the franchise to the best record in the NBA at 12-2.
Davis has been succeeding off the court as well as his brand has received more exposure than it did in New Orleans. While at a Footlocker event, the big man was interviewed by Friend of the Site (TM) Bill DiFilippo of Dime Magazine and had a lot to say about adjusting to the Lakers, playing with LeBron James, and his vast sneaker collection.
Perhaps most notably, Davis discussed his on-court chemistry with James and how their two-man game (notably in the pick-and-roll) has developed thus far in the season.
Our chemistry is great. He’s been a good friend of mine for a while, and I think this has helped build chemistry for the season. He’s a great player, great basketball mind, and it’s easy to play with a guy like that who’s selfless and wants to win, and only cares about winning. When you have a guy like that, it makes my job a lot easier. We spent a lot of time as a team in the summertime, so now the team’s chemistry is great. Everyone wants to see everyone play well, everyone wants to see everybody be happy, guys are cheering for each other when guys make plays. We’re a happy team, we’re a team that’s excited for everyone and wants everyone to be successful.
I think it’s all schematic, but at the same time, just continually being in that situation, the more and more we run the two-game game with me and LBJ, the better we’ll get at it, the more reads we can have out of it. Just having continuous reps on it, in practice and in games, just trying to figure out what’s most effective. We’ve been effective thus far, but we know teams are going to start adjusting to it, so just trying to figure out different ways that we can be effective in our two-man game. That’s why we’re always talking during the game, practice, whatever on how we can get better.
So far this season, the Lakers are outscoring opponents by 13.6 points per 100 possessions while both James and Davis are on the court. That’s the case despite the team struggling at times to get Davis involved in the offense. Only 13.1% of Davis’ used possessions have been out of the pick-and-roll (24.6% out of post-ups), per Synergy, and while the Lakers have tried to run those actions between James and Davis more frequently as of late, it’s clear they still have a long way to go. That makes their instant chemistry on the floor all the more enticing as there’s clearly more room to grow.
Davis also spoke about the Lakers’ top-ranked defense (after praising teammate Dwight Howard for his role in getting them there):
We know defense wins championships, we want to be a defensive-minded team. We know that we’re not gonna be able to shoot the ball well every night, no one in the NBA is gonna be able to shoot the ball well every night, but you can control how you play defense. We wanted to make sure that we’d be a team that … we wanna hold teams under 100 points every night. Obviously it’s not gonna happen every night knowing that guys in the league, in this day and age, are able to score at will, but that’s how it goes. We feel like we can be a defensive team all year, and we’ve proven that so far.
But we want to continue to get better. There are still some areas on defense where we can get better, that we lack, and each and every day, we’re trying to get better and better at those areas to be an even stronger defensive team. The more we can get better on defense, keep our defensive hats on, the easier it’s gonna be on the offensive end, as well.
Davis had quite a lot more to say so make sure you read the full story here.