Update: Shortly after this story published, the Lakers announced that Anthony Davis would sit out against the Detroit Pistons. Oh well.
Original story follows.
The running tally of Anthony Davis mea culpas this season is getting hard to keep track of. There was early in the season, when he started out by criticizing his own defense. Then, a few weeks later, he got so frustrated he kicked over a drink cart and called out the entire Lakers roster’s effort on D. A couple weeks after that, he went after himself again.
“I suck right now,” Davis said then.
In short, it really does not seem like Davis is enjoying this season very much, and perusing the stats, it’s easy to see why he’s starting to get criticized for his production. He’s averaging his fewest points (21.9) since his second season in the league. His rebounds (8.8) are at their lowest since his rookie year. His free-throw shooting, normally a bastion of reliability, is at its lowest percentage (71.1%) ever. And after declining to use his health as an excuse and saying his free-throw woes were mental, Davis issued another declaration to assembled reporters after the team’s loss to the Sixers on Wednesday.
“You’ll see tomorrow,” Davis said.
In this case, tomorrow refers to the Lakers’ Thursday matchup with the Detroit Pistons as the purple and gold continue their seven-game road swing. At 4-14, Detroit is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference and has the worst record in the NBA. The Pistons are also in the bottom third of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to NBA.com. Most of the headlines on our sister site, the excellent Detroit Bad Boys, will look familiar to anyone who stuck around here for the Lakers lottery years, as they’re basically all about trading what few good players they have for assets or trying to fix overpaid underperformers.
In short, the Pistons are very bad, and like the Lakers, they also lost last night, meaning they won’t have extra energy.
With all that context in mind, would Davis fulfilling his promise and beating the absolute hell out of the poor Pistons on the interior actually tell us anything about his season, or shift the confidence in his recent play in any meaningful way? I don’t know, but it would certainly be better than the alternative where he doesn’t. At the very least, it would be indicative of the right mindset, especially if the Lakers actually take care of business and just put Detroit away early without giving up a late comeback (as has been their wont of late).
Either way, with only a few more hours until the Lakers tip off against the Pistons at 5:00 p.m. PT, we won’t have to wait long to see if Davis delivers on this latest declaration.
Notes and Updates
- As one might expect given the quality (or lack thereof) of the opponent, this game will only be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
- Here are the injury reports for these two teams.
Only person on the Pistons' injury report is Killian Hayes, who is out with a right hip strain.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) January 28, 2021
- The only good news to come from the loss last night? LeBron James is publicly praising Alex Caruso again. Will that translate to more playing time? We’ll see.
- The Lakers are no longer undefeated on the road after last night, but they have said multiple times throughout the season that they don’t want to lose multiple games in a row, and so far they haven’t. Can they continue that trend against Detroit?