The Lakers are currently averaging 7.5 blocks per game. The last time they averaged at least 7.5 blocks per game or more was in the 1973-34 season. Anthony Davis has played a big role in that, blocking 47 shot attempts in sixteen games. That not only leads the Lakers in blocks per game (2.9), but also leaves him tied for first in the NBA. The Lakers additionally rank seventh in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 103.1 points per 100 possessions, which is also largely due to Davis. These aren’t the only stats that quantify Davis’ defensive dominance.
According to Synergy, Davis is in the 94th percentile among bigs in block percentage. Is that stat not crazy enough for you? Here, let me throw another one at you. Among players in the NBA who have defended at least fifty shots within six feet from the basket, Davis has the second best defensive field goal percentage at 40%.
Davis gets his blocks in numerous ways, whether on help defense, pick & rolls, on the fast break, or isolation. What I noticed from sorting all his blocks is that most of them have come from help defense. Whenever a defender on the Lakers has let their man get by him, Davis has been right there as a secondary defender to help his teammate out. Davis’ seven-foot, six-inch wingspan allows him to not only bother the opponents’ shots with his height, but his length as well, as you’ll see in this video:
From the intro of my video, you’ll see that Davis said on The Jump that he wants to win the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award. It’s something that Davis has never won before in his career, but has come close. It’s way too early to say whether Davis is going to be the DPOY or not, but from his play in these first 17 games of the season, it sure seems like he’s the current favorite.
The last Laker to win DPOY was Michael Cooper in the 1986-1987 season, so this year will be the 33rd season since a Laker has won the award. Davis has already made some history during his short time with the Lakers, and if he continues on the track he’s on, it’s going to be hard for awards voters to argue against giving him the recognition he seeks by the end of the season — allowing Davis to make a little more Lakers history in the process.