The Los Angeles Lakers are turning to Anthony Davis to take on a larger leadership role with LeBron James out and the big man ready to find his voice as the unquestioned leader of the squad.
Davis spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about James’ absence — first due to injuries and a one-game suspension and now with COVID-19. The four-time MVP has now missed more games (12) than he’s played in (11).
The usually soft-spoken former top pick is embracing taking on a leadership role on a team full of veterans.
“It’s like I’m being tested with my leadership,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “’Bron has been out with injuries and now also with the COVID situation, so it’s a good test for me. It’s a good experience for me to lead these guys and the good thing about it, I have other vets on my side who’ve been in the game for a while to help me through the obstacles. It’s a good test, not just for our team, but for me to lead these guys.”
Anthony Davis Wants to Use His Voice to Lead Lakers
Davis notched a team-high 25 points, seven rebounds and two blocks last night against the Kings, helping the Lakers stage a 67-33 second-half surge on the way to a 117-92. Davis said he’s been encouraged by guys like Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook to be “the guy” for the Lakers,
“I’m just taking that next step in leadership to my career,” Davis told Haynes. “I’m going to lead the team my way. I’m trying to be one of the guys to express how he feels in our locker room. Rondo, ’Melo, Russ have all been encouraging me to use my voice because I’m normally a really quiet guy when I’m playing and the only time I really talk is when I get tipped over the edge. But they’ve been telling me to ‘Use your voice. Use your voice.’”
Against the Kings, it sounded like Lakers coach Frank Vogel was the one to get the team on track, delivering a locker room speech that lit a fire under his squad.
“Coach was pretty upset, but I think his whole point was ‘Stop talking about winning a championship and not giving the correct effort,’ and he’s right. Spot on,” Dwight Howard said after the game. “You can’t keep saying we want to win, we want to accomplish these different things if we’re not willing to put in the work and the effort and play together.”
Davis Said He’ll ‘Speak His Mind’ With Teammates
Sometimes a bit of tough love is what a team needs when it’s not performing well. Davis said he’s not scared to deliver that and already has on a few occasions this season.
“We sucked,” Davis said earlier this month after a blowout loss to the Timberwolves. “We’re not winning a championship the way we’re playing.”
Davis said he plans to do that more often, when it’s needed.
“I’m going to be the guy who speaks his mind whether it’s in the media or the locker room,” Davis said. “But it’s because I’m trying to help the team breathe confidence in these guys. Obviously, I was here when we won the title, so I’m telling them it’s a long season and just using my knowledge and my experience to help these guys out. The good thing about us, we’ve got a veteran group. All these guys already know what we have to do, which is a good thing. Now the younger group, I’m just telling them, ‘We’re OK. Just keep [pushing on].’ We’ve got a lot of guys who know what they’re supposed to do on and off the floor, especially when you’re missing a guy like that.”
The Lakers stretch without James will last at least three more games, starting with the Clippers on Friday.