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Dennis Schröder says Anthony Davis has improved as a leader since his first Lakers stint

Across two stints with the Lakers, Dennis Schröder has seen notable improvements from Anthony Davis as a vocal leader.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

For a number of reasons, Anthony Davis has pieced together one of the best seasons of his career, at least when he’s been healthy. Davis has embraced his role as a center and is flourishing in it, averaging a career high in rebounds on a career-best field goal percentage.

His improvements this season, though, haven’t been strictly statistical. With LeBron James out for various portions of the season, AD has been forced into more of a leadership role that he has also embraced. Both vocally and through his play, Davis has asserted himself as one of the focal points of the franchise this season.

It’s not gone unnoticed, either, by his teammates. One of the players with the most unique perspective on Davis this year is Dennis Schröder. After spending a season with him two years ago, Schröder returned this year and can tell a change in AD’s approach.

In a recent piece from Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Schröder talked about Davis this year and the difference in their two seasons together.

The relationship has led to James teaching Davis how to come into his own as a leader. Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder, now in his second stint with the franchise, sees a difference in Davis.

“It’s better than the first time I was here,” Schroder told ESPN. “More vocal. ... I mean, I didn’t know him the first time I was here. But this year he’s doing a great job. I think he learned from LeBron as well. Talking to his teammates, especially on the defensive end. It’s a big growth from that first year to this year.”

When Davis arrived in Los Angeles, a vocal leader would not be a way to describe him. He’s made strides in that regard throughout his time with the Lakers and Schröder isn’t the first teammate to notice.

The situation this year has required AD to take a more assertive role. Whereas during Schröder’s first tenure, Davis was sidelined for most of it with an injury, he’s been the one playing without his superstar teammate this season. As a result, he’s had to take a step forward as a leader with no one else available.

Even without LeBron alongside him on the court this year, their relationship off the court has still produced fruitful results. In that same piece, Davis credited LeBron for helping him grow as a leader.

Life is settling down for the 11-year veteran who turned 30 on March 11. His priorities are more clear. James, who has thrived in the spotlight since he was a teenager, is an open book — spending time with Davis both in the locker room and wherever life takes them.

“He’s [LeBron] obviously taught me so much about the game, leadership,” Davis said. “And I think it comes more into play when he’s not playing because I have to. He’s not there. ... [Usually] I go out there and play and let him do all the talking. But when he’s out, we need somebody to have a voice and that’s when it’s, ‘OK, this is my time to use my voice as well.’”

If Davis is the future of this franchise, there are multiple parts of his game he has to improve upon. On top of playing like a true No. 1 option, something he’s done more of this season, he’s also needed to embrace the role of being the leader of a team, which he’s also done this year.

It’s been a season of growth for Davis and should leave fans far more comfortable than before with Davis being the future of this franchise as a result.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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