It has been an uneven preseason for new Lakers star Anthony Davis, who scored 22 points against the Warriors in the opener but did not get his footing in two games in China against the Nets. And his preseason could very well have ended on Saturday with a sprained right thumb he suffered in the first quarter against Brooklyn.
Davis, who started at center for the first time, had six points on 2-for-7 shooting in 12 minutes during the game. The Lakers have two remaining preseason games, both against the Warriors, on Monday and Wednesday. It’s not clear whether Davis will play in those games.
While a couple of missed exhibition games is hardly a cause for concern, if Davis does not play again before the regular season, this will have been a disappointing preseason, especially because Davis’ history of picking up minor injuries has been so problematic for him.
Davis missed at least 14 games in the first four seasons of his career, then played 75 games in Years 5 and 6. In last year’s disaster of a season with the Pelicans, Davis played just 52 games.
He missed time last year with a right elbow sprain, a right quad injury and an illness before missing nine games with a sprained left index finger in January as his agent pushed for a trade to the Lakers. He then played sporadically because of a shoulder injury, though his minutes were mostly limited because the team did not want him to get hurt ahead of an offseason trade.
Davis has had no serious injuries, but he’s sat over the years with an extended list of minor bumps and bruises. The most frequent offenders are shown here:
Davis’ Work on 3-Point Shooting Has Not Yet Paid Off
Another focus for Davis heading into the season was his 3-point shooting. When he entered the league, Davis was happy to play a pick-and-pop role, shooting midrange jumpers out of pick-and-rolls. But as the game has changed, he has tried to stretch his shot to the 3-point line. It hasn’t worked out well.
In 2017-18, he was serviceable, at 34.0 percent. But for his career, he is a 31.4 percent 3-point shooter and made only 33.1 percent last year.
Davis made shooting the 3 central to his offseason work, as he wrote in a Q&A on Twitter.
“This summer I improved the most on my 3-ball. I wanted to be able to stretch the floor,” Davis said in September. “As a big, the game is definitely going that way now. … I for sure want to get that [percentage] in the high 30s. By me doing that I’ll be able to help the Lakers as much as possible … and hopefully win a championship.”
The early returns were unimpressive. Davis was 1-for-3 from the 3-point line on Saturday, bringing him to 1-for-7 from the arc in three preseason outings. That’s not what the Lakers or Davis had in mind. There’s plenty of time, of course, but Davis’ health and perimeter shooting are early worries for the team.