The Los Angeles Lakers players recently took place at a veritable minicamp at the behest of LeBron James and, according to Austin Reaves, there was “100%” attendance. What’s more, that was a potentially key resurgence from Anthony Davis.
“AD’s shooting the ball really well right now,” Reaves said on “The Lowe Post” podcast on September 25. “It’s something that I’ve tried to get him to do more is shoot. Because if he does that you know at a very decent level – which he can because, in the bubble year, he shot it really well – literally you can’t guard him.”
Davis took a career-high 32.3% of his shots from 3-to-10 feet last season, per Basketball Reference. As a result, the percentage of his shots taken from beyond that range took a hit.
It was just overshadowed by Davis shooting a career-best 58.9% on twos.
Still, Davis was once a three-level scorer, with a 33.3% mark from 2017-18 while still with the New Orleans Pelicans through 2019-20, his first year with the Lakers when he helped them win their 17th championship banner.
He shot 25.7% from deep last season, 18.6% in 2021-22, and 26% in 2020-21, going from 2.8 attempts to 1.3 this past season.
“I think that he’ll shoot the ball a lot better this year, and I think he’ll take have more attempts,” Reaves said. “AD’s not a selfish guy at all. He wants to win. So those nights where he scored mid-teens … it’s not like he’s going to the bench bickering about touches and stuff like that just because someone else is having success. He don’t care about that. He just wants to win.”
Davis’ unselfishness is an asset. But one that he may need to turn off for the Lakers to become the best version of themselves.
In part because, as James ages, the Lakers need a new steward.
“I’m expecting Anthony Davis to win MVP in these next two years or so, real s***,” Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett said on Showtime Basketball’s “Ticket & The Truth” on August 14. “If not this year, definitely next year, straight up.”
If healthy, the one thing the Lakers can count on is that Davis will be a lockdown presence on the defensive end.
“He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever played with,” Reaves said. “Just knowing that he’s back there, in the playoffs especially, you can be so much more aggressive. And even if he don’t block shots, he’s gonna alter the shot.”
The renewed threat of an outside shot could see Davis fulfill the predictions that he could be on the shortlists for some high honors at the end of the season.
Lakers’ Austin Reaves on Spurs Interest: ‘The Mind Wanders’
The Lakers made quick work this offseason, re-signing Reaves on a four-year, $53.8 million contract.
But there were rumors the San Antonio Spurs had an interest in him in restricted free agency.
“The Spurs considered offering Reaves a restricted free agency sheet worth $21 million per season,” said Michael Scotto on the “HoopsHype Podcast” on July 26. Ultimately, however, the Spurs were scared off by the widespread belief that the Lakers would match any offer sheet for Reaves and chose to preserve cap space.”
Reaves would have teamed with No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama, something he says he couldn’t help but imagine.
“It definitely creeps into your mind,” Reaves said. “You hear things and, obviously, with Wembanyama, so much upside with him – your mind kind of wanders just into that basketball world just what that would be like.”
Reaves said the Lakers made it pretty clear they were going to match any offers.
And he added that he always wanted to be in Los Angeles where he will be the Lakers’ starting shooting guard next season, per head coach Darvin Ham.
Austin Reaves Offers to Help Stephen Curry, Replace Klay Thompson
Asked who was the best among NBA players, Reaves, an avid golfer, said himself but agreed with Lowe that Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was the popular answer among most fans. The Lakers rising star also suggested that Curry’s Warriors teammate, Klay Thompson, let him down when the two took on Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I would love to play against Steph. … He’s a good golfer,” Reaves said. “I wanted to let him know … if he needed a little help, he could let me know. But I didn’t want to say anything about Klay. Klay just … weight wasn’t carried.”
The Lakers knocked the Warriors, the defending champions, out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semi-Finals last season before going on to fall to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. Now, Reaves is trying to break up their top duo off the court.