Anthony Davis belongs in the conversation of best centers in the NBA. Problem is: He wants to spend as little time at that position as possible. Or maybe not, as in the last two Los Angeles Lakers games, Davis has spent crucial minutes at center, leading to a couple of convincing wins.
Frank Vogel thinks the Lakers should probably get more of that (via Kyle Goon of The OC Register):
“It’s something that we definitely are going to build in, all throughout the preseason we always built in at least a small stretch of the game where he plays 5,” Vogel said. “I envision us closing a lot of games that way, so I don’t want to get to finish line having not seen that at all and gotten familiar with how it’s different for our team.”
On one hand, it makes sense that Davis would push back against playing center primarily. It’s a physically grinding position that is somewhat limited offensively. On the other, Davis is so good at center, and the Lakers would be so much better with him there (and LeBron James next to him at power forward) that this should probably not take so much convincing.
Yes, on most nights, Davis can slide up to power forward and the Lakers will be fine. But when things really get tough, Davis should play center. He just should. We saw how the game turned in the second half even while the Lakers played Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz. Gobert is an absolutely elite center, but Davis made quick work of him. More often than not, that’s what Davis is capable of.
Over the course of the season, film sessions are going to be fascinating as Davis will get to see firsthand how much better he is and the Lakers are while he’s at the five. It just comes down to Vogel pointing that out as much as humanly — or at least politically — possible.