Anthony Davis is a Top 75 NBA player all-time, so his greatness is not in question. However, his ability to pass out of the post or rack up assists by swinging the ball around to shooters has never been a strong suit.
That may change this year.
Speaking after practice on Tuesday, Davis broke down his goal of improving as a passer, via Dan Woike of the LA Times.
“I kinda broke down to the team where I like to see guys on the perimeter when I’m in the post. And, they’ve been there and been able to catch the ball and knock down shots. Just playing with the pass, though. We want to up our average from last year in assists per game as a team. And you just do that by making the right plays and guys being confident in their shot.”
So far, in preseason, there hasn’t been a significant difference in Davis’ assists numbers. He’s averaging 2.7 assists, which is right around last year’s average of 2.4. Of course, the caveat is needed that this is just preseason and he’s played limited minutes in several games, only playing past the first half against the Golden State Warriors, for example.
Austin Reaves, who also spoke after practice on Tuesday, certainly believes in Davis’ passing ability, even if he was cheeky about it.
“I don’t want to give AD credit [for] passing the ball,” Austin Reaves said with a grin Tuesday. “… He’s a good passer. He can actually do it. I hate to say it, but AD can do everything. That’s why he’s one of the most talented guys in the league.
So, if Davis is a good passer, why hasn’t it resulted in an increase in assist totals? For one, it’s hard for assists to go up if players aren’t knocking down shots. Last year, the Lakers were 25th in the league in three-pointers made and with Davis being a big, his passes will likely be to open shooters on the wings.
In preseason, the Lakers are currently 13th best in the league from deep and if that trend matriculates to the regular season, Davis will have more opportunities to dish out passes that result in points.
Since joining the Lakers, Davis’ assist totals have steadily declined. Bucking that trend this year could help this Lakers offense become the franchise’s best three-point shooting team ever. Reaves is optimistic that Davis can get it done once the team gels more.
“Now, with the roster we have, we have the ability to space the floor.” Reaves said. “Obviously, AD’s high priority for scouting stuff for other teams. You know, once he makes those plays, it’s just going to get a lot easier for him too.”
Timing and chemistry are the key ingredients to success in sports and life. Davis claims he has the tools to be an elite passer, let’s see if the actions match the words this year.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.