There is not much to complain about when it comes to big man Anthony Davis and the way he played last season in helping lead the Lakers to the NBA championship. He averaged 26.1 points, with 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots, and shot 50.3% from the field.
But after the Lakers’ final win of the preseason, over the Suns, Davis revealed that coach Frank Vogel has made one request of him—shoot more 3s. He made 6-of-7 shots from the arc against Phoenix.
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After the game, Davis told Spectrum Sports, “Just trying to get back into a rhythm, find my game. Coach wants me to shoot more 3s and why not get used to it in the preseason and get the shots up? So, that’s all it was. Just trying to find a rhythm and be confident in my shot and be confident in my game and work on my game in the preseason games before we get started.”
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 19, 2020
Anthony Davis Has Been a Below-Average 3-Point Shooter in His Career
Davis has never been known as much of a 3-point shooter in his NBA career, averaging 1.5 tries per game and making only 31.9% from the line, well below the league average (which was 35.8% last season). He did take more in his first year as a Laker (3.5 per game) than he did in any of his seven seasons with the Pelicans, and while he was still below average at 33.0%, he improved throughout the season.
Davis made only 31.6% of his 3s before the All-Star break, but 36.5% after the break.
In the playoffs, he shot 38.3% from the 3-point line, including one of the biggest shots of his career, in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against Denver. In that game, Davis took an inbound pass on the left wing with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Lakers down, 103-102, and drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
Lakers fans won’t soon forget that one.
Anthony Davis: Lakers Remain Focused on the Defensive End
Still, Davis said the Lakers wrapped the postseason more focused on their defense than their 3-point shooting. The team has been working in key new defensive pieces, including veteran center Marc Gasol and wing Wesley Matthews, as well as undersize big man Montrezl Harrell, and that is what Davis took most from the team’s four preseason wins.
In fact, Davis indicated this team may be ahead of last year’s team defensively, an impressive notion considering the Lakers were third in defensive efficiency last year according to NBA Stats.
“We feel good, we feel very good,” Davis said. “The things we were able to do on the defensive end so quickly with our new guys, it involves a lot of trust, it involves a lot of the new guys caring about playing defense and it involves our schemes. Coach complimented us on how well we were doing on the defensive end, doing things that, you know, we were not supposed to be doing this early. We got a lot of great, cerebral players—Marc, Wes, that we picked up, Trez—so we been able to do some things we probably wouldn’t have been able to do last year.”