Last season, Anthony Davis had one of the most dominant seasons — at least when healthy — of his career. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the season he spent the most time around the basket and, consequently, the least amount of time on the perimeter.
But for many reasons, that already likely wasn’t going to continue this reason. Davis already made it known he wanted to play fewer minutes at center this season, which was going to cut into that.
However, a (wild?) challenge from head coach Darvin Ham also may factor into that. After practice on Thursday, Ham revealed the lofty challenge he has for AD this season, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“I want him, if he can — I know he won’t do it, but maybe he’ll shock me — but I’ve requested to see six 3-point attempts a game. Three per half, at least. I wouldn’t put that on him if I didn’t think he was capable.”
For many, many reasons, that’s quite some challenge. For some reference from last season, some of the players to average around six 3-pointers a game include Darius Garland (6.0), Jrue Holiday (6.1), Trae Young (6.3) and Jerami Grant (5.7). And while I’m certain he could shoot better than Dillon Brooks (6.0) from range, the common denominator here is all of those players are guards or wings.
Kristaps Porzingis (5.5) and Al Horford (5.2) are the only players designated as centers by Basketball Reference to attempt more than five 3-pointers a game. All of those are simply reference points to show how...outlandish of a suggestion this would be.
In his career, AD has a TOTAL of 23 games with six 3-point attempts with 14 of those coming since he came to Los Angeles. And even then, 11 of those games came in the 2019-20 season and the last occurrence of it came in April of 2021.
Now, as McMenamin noted, Davis spent this summer working out with assistant coach Chris Jent on his jumper to get it back to 2019-20 form. In the preseason, which has been one half of action each, Davis has attempted six 3-pointers. So, technically, he’s on pace so far to meet that quota.
But is it in the Lakers’ best interest to have Davis attempting six 3-pointers per game? If he’s making them at a good clip, then I suppose. But he’s a career 30% 3-point shooter and has one season shooting above 30% with the Lakers.
Ultimately, this might be a challenge worth exploring a bit but it also should have a very short leash. The version of AD that is hanging around the perimeter and shooting jumpers typically isn’t as engaged as the one working around the rim.
If you can keep AD aggressive while also having him be a jump shooter, then you have the best of both worlds. It’s quite the fine line to walk and one the Lakers appear set to explore this year.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.