After finishing in the bottom-three in the NBA in 3-point percentage in three of the last five seasons — including last season — the Los Angeles Lakers finally made the decision to hire a shooting coach in July. While the effects of the team’s new hire, Mike Penberthy, likely won’t be evident until later in the season (and that’s assuming they will be), he’s apparently already made an impact on one player: Anthony Davis.
On Sunday, Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy posted a picture of Davis getting shots up at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo and in the Instagram caption, he said Davis has been working diligently with Penberthy on his jump shot in the offseason:
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#goatsundays ... Talented players make coaches raise their level. @antdavis23 has been putting in major work with @mikepenber3 all summer. @lakers coaching staff has some #dynamic pieces to go along with #dynamic players. Embrace every new challenge to be great! #lakeshow #lakernation #thebrow #theworkisreal #details #BeYourOwnGoat #hardworkisundefeated
Davis isn’t a 3-point specialist by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s shown he’s willing to take them throughout his career, and his efficiency has steadily improved over the years. Last season Davis shot 33.1 percent from behind the arc on 145 total attempts. In the season prior, he shot 34 percent from 3-point range on 162 total attempts.
If Davis can break through the 35 percent mark by playing alongside LeBron James next season, he’ll bring a much-needed dynamic to the Lakers’ big man rotation, which currently features two rim-running centers in Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. It would also force defenses to respect him from outside, which would allow him to take advantage of slow-footed big men with his guard-like handles and speed.
Does Davis need to be a prolific 3-point shooter to be a valuable player to the Lakers? No, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt, so hopefully the work he put into his jump shot this summer pays dividends for him and the Lakers next season.