Given the way that the roster has gone through such dramatic changes over the three (about to be four) seasons where the Los Angeles Lakers have had both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there haven’t been many debates spanning over that entire time over a specific lineup or rotation choice.
However, there has been one sub-topic under the starting lineup that has been a heated topic at times among Lakers fans, a conversation that has been burning ever since the first 2019-20 season that Davis spent with the team. It seemed as if that topic had smoldered for the time being as we head into the 2022-23 season. But now, it may be back in a big way.
I’m talking about the prospect of starting Anthony Davis at the five, which was deemed to be “under heavy consideration” for the season by none other than head coach Darvin Ham.
Darvin Ham says Anthony Davis starting at the 5 to begin the regular season for the Lakers is “on the table” and under “heavy consideration.”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 10, 2022
There have been plenty of factors that have revolved around AD starting at the center position. It showed its true and explosive potential during the 2020 NBA Finals when Frank Vogel sat JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard for much of the games despite the two splitting the vast majority of center minutes over the course of the regular season. After that, Davis was far too injured throughout the 2020-21 and 2021-22 to have any sort of strength or energy that would be needed to be the only big in a small-ball lineup.
Davis started at the five in the Lakers’ 124-121 preseason win against the Warriors on Sunday and was slated to do the very same the previous week in a game against the Suns before he was a late scratch from the lineup due to lower back tightness. Wenyen Gabriel started for him in that game, showing Ham is seriously interested in this small-ball type of play. It remains to be seen whether this is more due to Ham’s perception of the best way to maxmimize the roster, or if it’s a reflection of the “meh” performances we’ve seen from Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant.
We discuss that and more in our most recent podcast episode, including Matt Ryan’s blistering night from three on Sunday and whether or not he could make the team. We close with talking about Rob Pelinka and his contract extension that was announced on Saturday.