One of the best players on the Los Angeles Lakers is taking his offseason workouts to another level this summer.
According to a July 29 report from Marc Stein of Substack, Anthony Davis has been “working out with increased diligence” after making a controversial statement in June. The All-Star big man said during a June 10 appearance on the “Nuke Squad” YouTube vlog that he hadn’t picked up a basketball since April.
“Some potential good news for the aforementioned Lakers and the soon-to-be-extension-eligible (LeBron) James: Anthony Davis’ surprising disclosure in mid-June that he hadn’t shot a basketball since early April might have been a blessing in disguise,” Stein reported. “Davis, by all accounts, has been working out with increased diligence ever since his comments generated a wave of strong criticism.”
Davis, who shot 18.6% from beyond the arc last season, has been training with “Lethal Shooter,” one of the top shooting coaches in the world. The Chicago native struggled with his jumper in 2021-22, shooting only 34.8% on jump shots and 31.7% on shots from 10-to-15 feet.
Davis shot 33.0% from deep in his first season with the Lakers (2019-20). If the one-time champion can rediscover his outside touch, the Lakers could be more explosive on offense next season.
Rob Pelinka: Davis Is Having a Terrific Offseason
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told Doris Burke and Mark Jones of ESPN on July 8 that Davis has “quietly put together one of the biggest offseasons of his career.” AD appeared in only 40 games last season due to injuries.
“He’s bought in, and I think he’s quietly put together, you know, one of the biggest offseasons of his career,” Pelinka said on July 8 during a Summer League game in Las Vegas. “You can just tell. He’s got a very serious tone about him. And, you know, last year didn’t unfold the way any of us wanted and I think everyone’s gonna come back with a chip on our shoulder and AD’s gonna lead us with that.
“I think he’s working hard. I know he’s working really hard on his body. Just excited to see what he’s gonna do. And I think you could tell, Doris and Mark, with the roster, you know, with the free-agent moves we made this offseason, we wanted to get younger. We wanted to get more athletic and faster and defensive-minded. Those are the things that coach [Darvin] Ham really wanted.”
Davis averaged 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in 2021-22 while shooting 53.2% from the field and 71.3% from the free-throw line. The eight-time All-Star 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 straight games.
Davis: ‘When I’m Healthy, I’m a Motherf*****’
Davis, 29, knows he’s one of the greatest players in the league. However, he’s aware that his injury history is a notable blemish on an otherwise stellar NBA résumé.
“My job is to be on the basketball floor and play games,” Davis told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin in April. “When I’m healthy, I’m a motherf*****. But I got to stay healthy. Unfortunately, it was two injuries I couldn’t control this year, but I’ll be back at it next year and see what happens.”
A future Hall of Famer, Davis has averaged 24.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 blocks in 138 regular-season games with the Lakers. However, the Kentucky product has played in just 76 games over the last two seasons.
Davis signed a five-year, $190 million contract with the Lakers in December 2020. He has the same agent as LeBron James (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports). ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on the June 22 episode of “The Lowe Post” that Davis won’t be traded this offseason.