Sunday, November 27, 2022

NBA coach attacks Lakers star Anthony Davis

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Heavy.com senior insider Sean Deveney spoke to an anonymous Western Conference coach about Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis. The coach told Deveney that the Lakers should start playing Davis with another big man to relieve him.

“What you’re seeing of him this year is why he’s always said he doesn’t want to play the 5,” the coach said. “He’s doing a good job offensively, but it’s asking too much of him defensively and they just aren’t as good a team with him in the middle as they are with someone else. Your problem now is it’s all or nothing. Either they put him down in the middle and the offense works like it’s supposed to but the defense suffers, or they get him out there and the offense is bad but the defense is getting better.

“We saw what Boston did to two bigs (Robert Williams and Al Horford) last year. Players are now athletic enough and smart enough to protect the paint and still fight on the fringes. I don’t understand why the Lakers wouldn’t try more. You have nothing to lose.”

The Lakers started alongside Davis with Wenyen Gabriel against the Sacramento Kings on November 11, a game Los Angeles lost. Head coach Darvin Ham has started with Davis, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Troy Brown Jr. and Patrick Beverley in his last three games without LeBron James. The King is dealing with a left groin injury.

The Lakers are on a three-game winning streak and Davis was great. The eight-time All-Star averaged 35.0 points and 12.3 rebounds in his last three games while shooting 61.7% from the field and 91.2% from the free throw line. The Lakers, who are 5-10 this season, defeated the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs thanks to Davis.

“Obviously, if he’s out or if I’m out, we make it our mission to fill that void as much as we can,” Davis told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin after the Nov. 20 Spurs game when asked about his Ascension in Jacob’s absence. “We didn’t talk about it, but he said I play like the old me, so I’m trying to get back into that rhythm.”

Davis became the third player in Lakers history to have at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in three straight games, joining Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Shaquille O’Neal. The Chicago native is averaging 25.6 points and 12.0 rebounds this season. He is 12th in the league in points per game and third in rebounds per game.

“AD is going crazy,” Ham said after the Lakers defeated the Spurs. “He’s in a great rhythm.”

The next three Lakers games are coming up. They play the Phoenix Suns on November 22nd and the Spurs on November 25th and 26th.

“I think everyone’s confidence is very high, but not getting too high,” Davis told reporters after the Nov. 20 Spurs game. “Going to Phoenix to start the journey will be a good test for us. But like I said, I think the guys’ confidence is high on both sides of the ball going into this game. We want to start the road trip with a W. Then San Antonio back to back. So it feels good to get three in a row. Now all we have to do is get it out there and get more wins.”

Thanks to their three-game winning streak, the Lakers now sit 13th in the Western Conference rankings.

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