LeBron James and Anthony Davis both had incredibly strong performances in their first game in the preseason. In that game, Davis showed off his ability to grab multiple offensive boards and threw down plenty of put-backs. He also showed his ability to play in the pick and roll. Meanwhile, LeBron showed off his ability to create out of the pick and roll, and his skills at attacking the basket and finishing through contact.
In their next game in China against the Brooklyn Nets, they showcased other parts of their game. Let’s take a closer look at what was working for them:
LeBron seemed to have his jumper going against the Nets. A big part of that was due to defenders wanting to go under the screens instead of over, which LeBron made them pay for. LeBron went 2 for 3 from three in that game, and shot 33.9% on six attempts per game from three last season with the Lakers. That was a bit of a percentage drop from his previous two seasons with the Cavs, so while this was just one preseason game, with Davis on board and a more talented roster, it’s clear James will have some easier looks this year, so hopefully that percentage rises up.
Davis showed off his passing skills in this game, something we only saw a bit of in his first contest as a Laker. His assists primarily came from his post ups. AD would often get doubled in the paint, and would dish it out to the open man. Many times that player was Rajon Rondo, who will probably get a ton of open looks this season, so it’s really important for him to knock down those threes and not hesitate when taking them.
Another thing Davis did well was his rim running. When the ball had been rebounded or inbounded, you’d see AD run up the court and post up his defender before the rest of the defense had even gotten back. This is something that you might see Davis do a ton this season, especially if he has a size mismatch with his defender. He did this a couple times to Taurean Prince in the game, and it worked out really well. He got fouled during most of those possessions, going 8 of 9 on his free throws.
In the limited minutes fans have seen LeBron and AD play basketball, it’s been something special. The game just comes easy to them. Every game both AD and LeBron will see different types of defenses, and with both of their skillsets, they’ll be able to shift their game to do what they can to help the team win. One night LeBron might be focused on scoring while AD is focused on finding open players, or vice versa. Either will be a scary site for the rest of the league, which is what makes the Lakers so dangerous.