For years now, it's been evident to anyone who watches the Lakers that Anthony Davis is the best defensive player on the team and one of the best defenders in the league. His ability to protect the rim by blocking shots, altering jumpers and even discouraging field goal attempts has been documented.
With the size and strength to contest with the best bigs in the league and the footwork to switch and defend guards, there isn't a player Davis can't defend in the NBA.
here's the defense anthony davis played on steph for what turned out to be the warriors' final two shots pic.twitter.com/uvxb63Hnts— Dan Favale (@danfavale) May 9, 2023
Despite this defensive form, Davis didn't win Defensive Player of the Year last season and didn't even make an All-Defensive team.
After the Lakers' dominant victory against the Memphis Grizzlies, where Davis collected six blocks, including back-to-back rejections on Jared Jackson Jr., last year's Defensive Player of the Year, Davis discussed the perplexity that is his lack of a Defensive Player of the Year Award.
"I just try to protect the paint and do everything defensively," Davis said. "I tell the guys, 'Man, just pressure the ball, just give everything you got when you're guarding the ball and funnel everybody to me and I'll do the rest.' That's every year, just trying to be a presence on the defensive end and be a force and help my team the best way I can, whether it's on the defensive end or the offensive end. But I've been doing this for a while, Metta, and I've yet to get one doing the same thing. I led the league in pick-and-roll defense and blocks and rebounds and I don't know. I don't know what else to do. Just keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully, one day, I'll be able to hoist that trophy."
Less than a dozen games into the season, claiming award favorites is far too early. However, if Davis hits the new 65-game threshold for NBA honors, he should, if not win, at least get more first-place votes than ever.
He should also get some All-Defensive Honors in 2024.
For fans, it’s been clear Davis is a blackhole where shot attempts go to die once they are within his 7’6 wingspan, but this might be the year the people who matter in terms of voting finally recognize it, too.
All Davis needs to do is continue giving performances like the one he had against the Grizzlies on Tuesday. The 12 years of data suggest that he will.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.