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Austin Reaves says Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough credit for his defense

Anthony Davis put the league on notice with his defense in the playoffs, but Austin Reaves still thinks he’s underrated on that end of the floor.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

One of the biggest storylines and takeaways of the Lakers’ postseason run was the utter dominance of Anthony Davis defensively. Healthy and back to his best, Davis was a one-man wrecking crew defensively and forced opponents into a host of changes en route to the team’s Western Conference Finals berth.

For many NBA fans, it was a reminder of how impressive he is and can be on that end of the floor. For Lakers fans, though, it was a lot of what they have seen in recent years with Davis. The Lakers’ struggles as a team and Davis’ inability to consistently remain on the court have led to him being underrated defensively.

In a recent episode of All The Smoke with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Austin Reaves spoke about Davis and his talent defensively.

“He’s obviously a good person to have on your team, especially defensively. I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he does (defensively) for us as guards. Knowing you have him as a rim protector, you can be more physical, more aggressive, you can shoot passing lanes and know if they get in the paint then it’s going to be tough to get two anyways. He’s arguably right behind LeBron as the most skilled player I’ve ever seen. Just his height, the way he moves, he can handle the ball, he can shoot it. There’s really nothing he can’t do.”

There is no greater example of AD not getting the credit he deserves defensively than him not being selected to any All-Defense team this year. While it could be chalked up to injury keeping him off the floor, it’s not a particularly strong argument, especially given his postseason performance.

Part of the reason it’s hard to properly credit players defensive is how unquantifiable things are on that end of the floor. Offensively, there are tons of counting stats. Defensively, blocks and steals are basically it, and those often don’t properly articulate production on that end.

Oftentimes in recent years with Davis, his impact defensively is only seen when he’s not in the lineup or not on the floor. How much that should factor into how productive someone may be is up for debate, but it further shows how hard it is to quantify defensive prediction.

The bottom line is, when Davis has been healthy and on the floor since joining the Lakers, they’ve almost always had an elite defense. That is not a coincidence and hopefully, soon, Davis will start getting the credit he deserves on that end.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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