All-Star big man Anthony Davis sounded off on his mindset and the future of the Los Angeles Lakers during a media day interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The talented forward said he has a mindset of dominating for the Lakers in 2022-23.
“For me, I’m coming in with that mindset to dominate,” Davis told McMenamin.
In his first year with the Lakers (2019-20), Davis helped the franchise win the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble. The Chicago native signed a five-year, $190 million contract with Los Angeles in December 2020 and Davis and LeBron James were predicted to compete for more championships.
However, Davis has appeared in only 76 games over the last two seasons. The Kentucky product played in just 40 games in 2021-22. He missed 17 consecutive games from late December until late January after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then in mid-February, Davis sustained a right mid-foot sprain versus the Utah Jazz, causing him to miss 18 more games.
The Lakers missed the playoffs last season despite having Davis, James and Russell Westbrook. After having the second-best preseason odds to win the title in 2021-22, not many people are talking about the purple and gold this year and Davis is perfectly fine with that.
Davis: ‘We’re the Underdogs’
Davis told McMenamin that the Lakers have an underdog mindset this season. The eight-time All-Star, who has the same agent as James (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports), doesn’t care what pundits are saying about the LakeShow.
“We’re treating this season like we have a chip on our shoulder. We’re the underdogs,” Davis said. “Obviously, the world is looking to see what we do, but like you said, they’re not talking about us and that’s fine.”
The Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 playoffs and didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament last season. The team has struggled since winning the 2020 championship and Davis’ inability to stay healthy is one of the main reasons why Los Angeles hasn’t been elite.
The good news is that Davis is 100% healthy heading into this season and ready to be more aggressive on offense for the Lakers, who hired Darvin Ham after firing Frank Vogel: “Be more aggressive,” Davis said. “I started getting in my own head a lot last year. I don’t think a lot of people know that. … Just knowing how much better I could have been.”
In 138 regular-season games with the Lakers, Davis is averaging 24.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 blocks. Although James is still considered the “best player” on the purple and gold, Ham wants to run his offense through AD.
Lakers Will Run Their Offense Through Davis
According to an August 9th report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Ham told James during a private meeting that he planned on running the Lakers’ offense through Davis in 2022-23. James had no problem with Ham’s decision.
Davis will make $37.9 million next season. He averaged 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in 2021-22 while shooting 53.2% from the field. Los Angeles is 75-33 in the regular season when James and Davis play. However, both guys have been injured over the past two years.
James will turn 38 in December and the 2022-23 season will be his 20th campaign in the NBA. Meanwhile, Davis will turn 30 in March and has less mileage on his body than James, who has played in 10 Finals.