But for fantasy basketball players, Davis has long been known by different moniker: Anthony Day-To-Davis, a reference to how often his dives to the floor, into the stands or collapses to the ground leave him heading back to the locker room with his supporters and teammates holding their breath.
Davis has played less than 70 games in five of his seven seasons in the NBA, and while he potentially would have eclipsed that mark last year had his trade demand not led the Pelicans to sit him numerous times down the stretch, the reality is that Davis has been dinged up quite a few times in his career.
He told Peter Flax of “The Red Bulletin” that his offseason has been centered on changing that:
“I’ve watched how a lot of people get hurt during the seasons, and obviously that’s something we all dread, and so I’m training to find ways to prevent that,” he says. “I’m going into crazy positions.”
In the name of load management, Davis trains for the worst-case scenario. “I’m trying to maximize my strength in these awkward positions,” he says. “That way, when I’m in those positions with a lot of load or someone is pushing me, my body and my ligaments and tendons can handle it.”
I asked our very own Dr. Rajpal Brar (aka @3cbperformance) — who has a doctorate in physical therapy — about this, and he said that essentially by training like this, Davis can make it so “those positions aren’t as foreign and awkward to his body, because he’s preparing himself to be put into and tolerate those positions better.” In turn, this could theoretically reduce Davis’ risk of injury.
“It’s the essence of strength training, which has repeatedly been proven to be the most effective way to prevent injuries,” Brar said.
Perhaps most importantly, however, it sounds like Davis himself feels that the training is working. While the season will be a different level of test, Davis told Flax that he’s heading into it firing on all cylinders (emphasis mine):
Davis can’t help win games if he’s on the bench. A list of his past injuries catalogs a painful litany of strained knees, bruised hips, sprained and fractured digits, sore shoulders and quads and back spasms.And so Davis trains — he works smarter, he mindfully considers his tendons, he even rests with scientific precision. “I’m 100 percent healthy and I feel fine,” Davis says. “I feel very confident in myself.”
An NBA athlete that didn’t end the season with an injury being healthy and confident in themselves is hardly breaking news, but this is still an important confirmation for the Lakers to have going into the year. Davis starting the season at 100 percent will be important for a Lakers squad that was almost entirely overhauled over the summer and will need all the breaks it can get to find its stride early in what will be a tight western conference playoff race.
The important thing for Davis now will still be staying healthy, obviously, and it remains to be seen how his new training will help on that front. Still, it continues to sound like he is focusing on the right things this summer, both in terms of what skills he’s working on, and in making sure he does everything he can to stay on the court to use them.