On Monday, Anthony Davis knew he needed extra time in the gym. He felt like his shot wasn’t in a rhythm, so he stayed in the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility, simulating game situations with Rajon Rondo and shooting coach Mike Penberthy so that he could practice firing his shot at game speed, not quitting until he ensured that the next time he was left open, he wouldn’t hesitate.
Over the two games since, Davis has shot 7-12 from behind the arc, helping him torch the Oklahoma City Thunder for 67 points over the course of the Lakers’ two wins. After beating OKC a second time — this time on Friday, in Chesapeake Energy Arena — Davis told reporters that his lack of hesitation was responsible for his newly efficient marksmanship from distance (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“Coach told me to stop hesitating. When I hesitate I tend to come up short, or (have) a bad miss. I feel like if I’m open I’m going to shoot it, no hesitation, and they seem to be going in a lot more when I don’t hesitate,” Davis said.
That’s a pretty accurate assessment from Davis, as even if you extend the sample size to the last four games — adding in five missed threes — he’s still 7-17 (41.2%) from behind the arc. As our own Ali Behpoornia noted on Twitter, that’s a significant improvement from his play earlier in the season, as Davis shot 8-27 (29.6%) from deep in the 10 games prior.
Now, shooting well on 17 shots doesn’t a new norm make, but LeBron James told reporters that the Lakers are pushing Davis to increase his sample size of threes anyway. They want Davis to make defenses pay for leaving him open:
“We want him to take more threes. Teams are playing off of him, and he’s too damn good of a shooter not to shoot them,” James said.
It sounds like Davis plans on doing just that, because if he doesn’t plan on shooting, he’s noticed that he’s not making many shots. He knows he needs to be ready and confident to shoot the same way every time:
“The ones I miss I’m either falling back, or hesitant because I want to make the right play,” Davis said. “Now I’m always shot ready, knowing that if it comes to me I want to shoot it.”
If Davis keeps shooting like he has over the last four games, or anything close to it, it won’t be long before defenses stop offering up that shot so readily. If and when that happens, Davis will be basically unstoppable. And just like during his extra workout to start this hot streak, all Davis has to do is keep hitting enough threes to make it happen.
All quotes transcribed via Spectrum SportsNet. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.