Darvin Ham and LeBron James have both vocalized Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess this season and made a case for him to be the Defensive Player of the Year. What hasn’t been talked about as much is his offensive uptick this season.
He’s averaging 25.7 points per game, just decimal points behind his highest point total as a Laker. In December, he averaged 29.1 points and so far in January, that’s only gone up, scoring 30.8 points per night through four games.
The biggest performance came on Tuesday versus the Raptors, where his 41-point night helped the Lakers squeak out a one-point victory to extend their winning streak to two and bring the Lakers back to .500 on the season.
After the matchup, Davis talked about why he’s been so effective at putting the ball in the basket this year.
“I’m just in a great rhythm right now,” Davis said following the win. “Teammates doing a good job of giving me the basketball in spots that I can be effective. Trying to do everything I can to help the team get back to the other side which is winning. Obviously, tonight we knew with no Jakob Poeltl, rim protection wasn’t going to be there tonight and tried to take advantage of that.”
No arguments here. Davis was a monster and he put Pascal Siakam and whoever else dared to protect the rim into the basket all night long. He had an A+ performance for the purple and gold even with Dennis Schröder talking trash on some Davis free throws during the closing seconds.
Anthony Davis with a season-high 41 PTS including 20 in the 4th quarter— NBA (@NBA) January 10, 2024
Lakers get the W. pic.twitter.com/2J6SofE8XS
If this was just one game, a cynic could scoff and say it’s just a good game from a great player. However, with so many consecutive weeks with similar performances, this isn’t an anomaly. It’s a trend. Davis is in great rhythm and with the team back to its winning ways, Christian Wood had some fun discussing how he’s impacting Davis’ play now that he’s back in the rotation.
“He learns a lot from me,” Wood said postgame. “That’s my guy. He’s been having a great season. He’s been active every game, trying to play as many games as he can, even when they tell him that he shouldn’t. He’s big time, man. He’s a big time player.”
Maybe Wood should start if Davis is learning so much from him offensively. But in all seriousness, having Davis playing at this level raises the Lakers’ ceiling. They just need to make sure they have the right players around them so they can reach for the heights instead of settling for the floor.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.