It hasn’t been a perfect start to the season for Anthony Davis. The Los Angeles Lakers star has already missed two games with a calf injury is only averaging 22.9 points per game. The shortened offseason is likely playing a big factor in his early struggles but it could also have to do with his offensive decision making.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report recently suggested that Davis might be relying too much on jump shots on offense:
Davis’ attraction to jumpers hasn’t stopped here. His mid-range frequency has skyrocketed—mostly at the expense of his volume around the rim. Just over 25 percent of his shots are coming from point-blank range, a share that would comfortably rank as a career low.
In theory, this seems awkward, verging on problematic. Davis has never been the most efficient shooter. In practice, it isn’t an issue. He is putting down 49 percent of his mid-range jumpers and nearly 41 percent of his threes, both of which would be career highs. The overwhelming majority of his outside looks are also coming off assists, so he has not completely reinvented the manner in which his scoring comes—just the location.
Davis’ length and athletism make him a very difficult person to guard. Perhaps relying on jumpers is limiting his effectiveness on offense.
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Should Davis Be Attacking the Rim More?
On Sunday, Davis had one of his best games of the season against the Houston Rockets. He scored 27 points in a little less than 30 minutes played. He only attempted one three throughout the entire game. He attacked the rim more often and it worked out well. Favale believes that where Davis is the most effective:
Still, Davis’ capacity to put pressure on the rim is among his greatest strengths, and his outside shooting will only be an asset so long as the efficiency holds. Will it? Debatable. He turned into Kevin Durant from the perimeter during the bubble restart, but his current pace still represents a stark departure from the rest of his career.
Davis is still a very good player from the perimeter but a balanced attack could make Davis even more effective.
Davis Will Turn Things Around
With the excellent performance against the Rockets, Davis could finally be turning a corner this season. If the season ended today, he’d have his worst scoring average since his second season in the NBA. The lack of dominance early in the season is slightly concerning but Davis will figure things out.
Per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Lakers expected it to take some time to get things going. He was banged up towards the end of the NBA Finals and didn’t have much time to get his body right. Los Angeles is clearly easing him into the season. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t return to his dominant ways within the next few weeks. He truly is one of the most talented players in the NBA. The Lakers have a lot of new pieces and they are still figuring out how to work well together. Once they do, Davis and the team will be really difficult to stop.