While injuries continue to be a far-too-often storyline of Anthony Davis’ seasons, his dominance when healthy is becoming another regular storyline. For a second year in a row, when Davis has been on the court, he’s put up career-best numbers.
This season, his dominance has been loud. His run of games in November and December of 2022 saw him put up historical numbers. And while the numbers haven’t been historical since his return, they’ve still been fantastic.
As is often the case, though, it has largely flown under the radar for a number of reasons. The injuries come so often that it’s impossible to overlook them and the Lakers generally underperforming this season has made it hard to laud the performance of one individual.
But in a recent piece by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Austin Reaves did just that with AD and had quite the lofty praise.
“He’s been a f---ing monster,” Lakers guard Austin Reaves told ESPN. “I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves as a basketball player. I think people see the games missed and knock him for that. Obviously, availability is a big thing, but like, as a basketball player, I feel like there’s not many people his height with the skill set that he has.”
Statistically, Davis’ season has been one of the best of his career. The 25.9 points per game he’s averaging is the most since his first season in Los Angeles when he averaged 26.1 points. And he’s done it in a different way than that year, shooting fewer 3-pointers but being more efficient when he does shoot.
Dais has career-best marks in field goal shooting (56.5%), rebounds (12.4), and effective field goal percentage (57.6%).
Looking more closely, Davis is excelling in similar ways that he did last year. His shot diet is even more concentrated on shots at the rim with 48% of his attempts coming at the basket, tied for the second-highest mark of his career and a higher percentage than last year. And while mid-range shots still are a steady amount of his shots, this year he’s making them again with the 44% field goal percentage on his mid-range looks tying for the best mark of his career, per Cleaning the Glass.
And to see his impact defensively, simply watch a Lakers game in which he isn’t playing. The team is heavily reliant on Davis to anchor them on that end of the court and with him on the floor, the team’s defensive rating of 109.1 would be the best in the league.
Ultimately, one of the only reasons the Lakers are in the play-in game conversation is because of AD. Or, as Reaves delicately put it, he’s been a monster.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.