Anthony Davis was fine in his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers — just fine. Then, in his second game with the team he was good; some would even argue great. But on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets, Davis was dominant.
In 32 minutes and 59 seconds against Charlotte, Davis scored 20 points — 16 of which came in the first quarter — on 52.6% shooting from the field, including 3-5 shooting from behind the arc. He also added 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.
It was a monster night for the 26-year-old forward, and Davis’s new head coach Frank Vogel expects him to have a lot more of those types of nights this season.
After the Lakers’ win, Vogel told reporters that he thinks Davis gave fans a sneak peek at the type of production he can give the team on any given night this season (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“I think this is probably the best representation that our team, our fanbase, has seen from him in a Lakers uniform. His greatest skillset is his versatility, his ability to do everything. He hasn’t shot that well from the perimeter yet, but we’ve been encouraging him to keep getting those attempts up because his shots will fall. He’s a great shooter and when he’s not going to have shots from the perimeter like that, then doing all the other things — like the short roles, the post-ups, the offensive blasts, the lob game — there’s a lot of different ways he can hurt you.”
Going into Sunday’s game, Davis was shooting 39% from the field and was ice cold from behind the arc, going 0-9 on his 3-point attempts. Despite this, Davis said that Vogel and the coaching staff encouraged him to keep shooting, leading him to his season-high scoring night:
“I was due for one. I had coach, the assistant coaches and the players telling me to keep shooting them, and it was a matter of just not overthinking and just letting it fly. And then when I’m able to shoot the ball like that it opens up the floor for guys for their drives, and makes the defense respect me from three. We got a lot of good looks.”
Davis doesn’t need to shoot 60% from 3-point range to be effective for the Lakers, but if his 3-ball started falling with consistency, it would make it easier for Vogel to experiment with five-out lineups with shooters, including ones with Davis at center. It would also force opposing defenses to respect him from out behind the 3-point line, which would increase his chances of:
- Getting fouled on 3-point attempts
- Blowing by his defender on the perimeter
It goes without saying, but either one is a win for the Lakers.
Davis will get the chance to improve on his incredible performance on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has a few capable big men such Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr., but I’d still bet on Davis having another big night.