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The key to Anthony Davis’ defensive versatility: It’s all in the hips

I explain the key physical characteristic that unlocks AD’s defensive versatility on the perimeter

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

If there is one thing that stands out most about Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis this season, it’s that he’s been a defensive force, and arguably become the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year. One of his greatest strengths has been his ability to switch on the perimeter and more than hold his own against quicker, shiftier guards.

His elite “switchability” is characterized by multiple qualities, including his defensive anticipation, ability to read the game, process, and then act, something I refer to as “mental speed.” Physically, he possesses an incredible change of direction ability that’s highlighted by his great balance and hip fluidity, especially while switching onto players on the perimeter.

In the following video, I explained and detailed how Davis’ ability to “flip his hips” is a key characteristic that unlocks his perimeter versatility:

So there you have it. AD’s hip fluidity and swivel set him apart from most defenders and when combined with his size, athleticism, and mental speed, turn him into an absolute nightmare on the defensive end. A nightmare that’s hopefully returning to the court to haunt the opposition soon when (and if) the NBA season continues over the next few months.

Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.