When Lakers star Anthony Davis was asked to name the team’s best shooters, you can, at least, say that he was honest—he did not rank himself first. In fact, he did not even rank the guy who has made the fourth-most shots in NBA history—and the most in postseason history—in the top spot.
That would be LeBron James, and earlier this last week, coach Frank Vogel said that James is the best shooter on the Lakers.
Davis disagreed. He put James third on the team. For No. 1, Davis went with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Second was Wesley Matthews.
The full list:
Davis did acknowledge that James is having an excellent season as shooter, making 48.6% of his shots and 38.2% of his 3-pointers. That is his best percentage on shots from the arc since 2012-13, when he was with Miami. He’s also making 72.8% of his free-throws, which is his best rate in his time as a Laker.
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“Bron has been shooting the ball extremely well this year,” Davis said. “Obviously, Kenny has been shooting the ball. … But I would have to say, Kenny is always our guy we look to for shots. Wes is still struggling to find a consistent 3, he’s getting open looks, but I would still put Wes up there, he’s a sniper. Kenny, Wes, I’ll put Bron third just because this year he has been able to shoot the ball extremely well.”
LeBron James: If There’s Money on the Line, ‘I’m Going to Take Myself’
As for James, he said the Lakers have multiple good shooters and while he might not be the best among them, he would pick himself if there were money on the line. Here’s what James said:
I mean, we got a lot of great shooters on the team, man. KCP is a great shooter, Wes Matthews, great shooter. Kuz can shoot the heck out fo the ball. Dennis the Menace can shoot the ball as well. AD can shoot the ball. So we got a lot of great, knock-down shooters. Obviously if someone says, ‘bet,’ obviously you guys know I’m going to take myself. That’s just the competitive nature in me and the work ethic that I put into my shot. I feel real good with my shot right now, both from the free-throw line and also from the 3-point line and I want to continue that. You know, just giving defenses different styles of my play.
Caldwell-Pope Blossoming as a Shooter
It is interesting that Caldwell-Pope gets high makrs from both Davis and James as a shooter because for much of his career, shooting was not a strong suit. He shot 40.5% from the field and 33.4% from the 3-point line in his first four NBA seasons, in Detroit, before coming to Los Angeles.
He’s been much better in his four seasons with the Lakers (44.1% from the field, 37.5% from the 3-point line), but remember, I was only a little more thn a year ago that Caldwell-Pope came out shooting 27.6% from the 3-point line in his first 13 games, causing many among the Laker faithful to call for him to be traded.
Caldwell-Pope has been scorching from the 3-point line this year, making 55.3% of his shots from the arc. He has made 10 out of his last 15 3-pointers over the past three games.
As a team, the Lakers are making 39.8% of their 3-pointer, which ranks fourth in the NBA.