If Anthony Davis shoots 85.7% on threes this season, the Lakers genuinely may not lose a single game. And even though he didn’t take any until the team’s final exhibition game, once he started firing, he didn’t hold back, tossing up seven triples in the Lakers’ exhibition win over the Suns, and hitting six of them to end the preseason with the aforementioned conversion rate from behind the arc.
While speaking with Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet and the Laker Film Room podcast after the game, Davis let it slip that him shooting more threes is all part of the plan for the team this year.
“I’m just trying to get back in the rhythm, find my game. Coach wants me to shoot more threes, and why not get used to it in the preseason and get the shots up? That’s all it was. I’m just trying to find the rhythm and be confident in my shot,” Davis said.
Davis’ performance gave him plenty of reason to be confident in his jumper, because he wasn’t just making threes. I mean, not to be blasphemous, but after shooting the first three within the rhythm of the offense, the last three of his triples on Friday were downright Kevin Durant-esque:
Six treys on seven attempts.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 19, 2020
AD does it all pic.twitter.com/EDYyuYz8DA
This does not appear to be a fluke, either. As Davis continues to chase greatness, his 3-point shot has been a meaningful area of growth.
At Vogel’s behest, Davis began to really move his game behind the arc last year, starting as early as November. From January on last year, the results started to show, as Davis shot 37.9% from distance for the rest of the season after the first of the new year, and ended the campaign with 218 attempts, 73 more than his previous career high despite the shortened season. All those game reps allowed him to up his percentage to 38.3% in the playoffs, culminating in his instantly iconic game-winner from the wing in the Western Conference Finals.
Given that success, it should be no surprise that Vogel is telling Davis to keep it rolling.
“We want him to continue to be aggressive at the 3-point line. I thought he improved each month throughout the year last year, was big in the playoffs from range, from deep, and obviously a great start tonight,” Vogel said.
“A great start” might be the understatement of the year if Davis keeps anything approximating this up. If his success from deep over the last calendar year or so proves to be for real, he may start to become genuinely unguardable. We’ll have to wait for the games to start to count to really commit to such grand declarations, but Davis appears to be on the right track to meaningfully improve his already MVP-caliber game. That’s great news for the Lakers, and a potentially horrifying development for the rest of the NBA.