Last year, when Rajon Rondo was sidelined with a broken thumb at the start of the Lakers’ championship run in the NBA bubble, head coach Frank Vogel found a way for one of the smartest players in NBA history to still utilize his brain and help the team: Sitting in on coaching meetings, and giving feedback to players like Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker after each game.
Vogel isn’t having Anthony Davis do the same thing while he’s out with calf and Achilles injuries for the next few weeks, but he has appreciated how Davis has gone out of his way to try and make a similar impact by coaching his teammates up from the bench during games.
“He’s active, staying engaged in the game, talking to coaches or his teammates about coverages or offensive spacing concepts. Just ways he can share his lens on what he’s seeing from the bench,” Vogel said recently. “He’s staying very active and involved.”
Davis can be seen doing this all game, during basically every stoppage, with teammates of all positions and statures, from Kyle Kuzma to LeBron James, using his renowned defensive IQ to help them out when he sees areas they can be better.
It’s obviously not as valuable as having Davis on the floor, cleaning up those mistakes himself, but since that’s not an option for at least a few weeks, coaching his teammates up is one way Davis can make an impact.
Still, it hasn’t led Davis to discover some new passion. Last week, when I asked him if his time helping from the sidelines had led to him to consider a coaching career at all, he cut me off before I could even finish to shoot down the idea.
“No. That does not make me want to get into coaching,” Davis told Silver Screen and Roll. “That’s just my competitive spirit. I’m just so into the game and helping the guys win that when I see things, I just need to help them. That’s just who I am, but it is not going to lead to a coaching career after I get done playing.”
Given that Davis is just 27 years old, the Lakers don’t need him to consider coaching just yet, anyway. Until he can get back out on the floor though, it’s at least one way he can try and help this team keep winning games despite one of their best players being on the sidelines.