To say Anthony Davis has been bad for the Los Angeles Lakers to start the season would be inaccurate. He’s still one of 16 players averaging more than 20 points per game on more than 50% shooting from the field, and he’s the only player doing that while averaging more than a steal and a block per game.
However, to say that he’s everything that fans hoped he’d be in his second season in Los Angeles would also be inaccurate.
Coming off of a dominant run in the Orlando Bubble, the expectation was that Davis would make a run for at least one piece of hardware: the MVP Award or the Defensive Player of the Year award, the latter of which he finished second in voting for last season. While he still has more than half of the season to make his case, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to make up the ground he’s lost. It’s also looking increasingly likely that he won’t start in the 2021 NBA All-Star game, something he did just last season.
All that is to say: Davis could be doing better, and he knows that. But he also doesn’t think he’s playing as bad as everyone seems to think he is, as he told Bill Oram of The Athletic in a recent interview:
“I know that’s going to come,” Davis told The Athletic. “The scoring, the shooting percentage like all that stuff, like, I’m still shooting like 53 percent or something like that, I think. So, I’m still shooting extremely well from the floor. The scoring is down, which I’m not really concerned about.”
Davis is right: through 21 games, he’s posting career-highs in 2-point field goal percentage (57%) and effective field goal percentage (55.5%). However, his true shooting percentage is down from last year because he’s shooting a career-low (70.2%) from the charity stripe. His 3-point percentage (31.5%) is also nowhere near where it was in the playoffs, where he made 38.3% of his 3-pointers.
But, like Davis said: he’s isn’t worried about his shooting, or how many points he’s averaging per game, and he explained why in the same interview:
“I still do the intangibles, things that don’t show up in a box score to help my team win,” Davis said. “And we’re winning. So how can I be upset about anything? We’re winning.”
Again, for the most part Davis right. There are questions that will need to be answered before the postseason starts, though — the first is the “why?”
Why has Davis not looked like himself to start the season? Was he just not as prepared his teammates for the season to start, or did he re-aggravate his shoulder injury from last season?
Once we figure out the “why?”, we have to figure out arguably the most important question: “when?” When will Davis start to ramp things up, assuming he can? Will it be after the All-Star break in March, or right before the postseason?
Right now, we don’t know, and I think that’s been the main source of frustration. Hopefully, for his sake and the team’s, we get some answers soon.