LeBron James met with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham last week and Ham sent big man Anthony Davis a strong message during the private meeting.
According to an August 9 report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Ham told James he plans on running the Lakers’ offense through Davis.
“Furthermore, the first-year head coach said one wrinkle he will implement and stick with is having the offense run through Anthony Davis, and James concurred, sources said,” Haynes reported. “The team has been encouraged with Davis’ offseason progression and believe he’ll be in optimum shape to avoid serious injuries and carry a heavier load.”
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.
Davis averaged 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds last season. The eight-time All-Star only played in 40 games, though. 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 straight games.
Davis ‘Working Out with Increased Diligence’ This Offseason
According to a July 29 report from Marc Stein of Substack, Davis has been “working out with increased diligence” after making a controversial statement in June. The Chicago native 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 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 only 18.6% from beyond the arc last season, has been training with “Lethal Shooter” this summer, one of the top shooting coaches in the world. The one-time champion really struggled with his jumper last season, shooting just 34.8% on jump shots and 31.7% on shots from 10-to-15 feet.
A future Hall of Famer, Davis shot 33.0% from 3-point land in his first season with the Lakers, helping the team win the championship. If AD can rediscover his outside touch, the Lakers could be more explosive and dynamic on offense next season.
Pelinka: Davis Is Having a Terrific Offseason
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.” Davis will make $37.9 million next season.
“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 Ham really wanted.”
Davis signed a five-year, $190 million contract with the Lakers in December 2020. In 138 regular-season games with LA, the Kentucky product is averaging 24.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 blocks.