“Step aside LeBron” Darvin Ham plans on running the Lakers’ offense through Anthony Davis in 2022-23 season

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis
FirstSportz News

Los Angeles Lakers are a team to watch in 2023. Many might give them the slightest of chances to make it to the playoffs, but Championship experienced coach certainly feels the other way around. While in his introductory press meet, Darvin Ham insisted on the importance of having LeBron James and Russell Westbrook on the team, he further re-insisted the fact of using Anthony Davis as a centerpiece for the Lakers gameplay. The Lakers had minimal utilization of AD in the last 2 seasons due to injury, but a healthy Davis could be a huge benefit for them.

In the 2020 championship run, Anthony Davis played a vital role on both ends of the floor. He was just behind LeBron James on the offensive floor while leading them in defenses. Keeping it similar, the first-year head coach said he will implement and stick with having the offense run through Anthony Davis. The team has been encouraged by Davis’ offseason progress.

How can Anthony Davis turn things around for Los Angeles Lakers?

Anthony Davis attempting a FT
Anthony Davis attempting a FT

2022 Los Angeles Lakers have been nothing but disappointment. The team was loaded with experienced and multiple All-Star level players playing a very passive role in the games. Defensively they struggled big time, as old legs couldn’t help back in defenses. It was Anthony Davis who carried the offensive load for the Lakers in absence of LBJ and Russ’ struggles.  

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Last season also, 27 games before his injury, Davis averaged 23.3 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game. He was converting 52.1% of his shots. But since returning from the knee injury, AD is averaged 29.2 PPG, 13.2 RPG, and shooting 57.8% in his next five contests.

But it’s not only AD’s offense that kept the Lakers competitive while LeBron missed those five games, Davis’ defensive ability and versatility gave them an edge over their opponents. His shot-blocking also allowed the Lakers to improve as a whole.

It can be statistically seen that The Lakers ranked 24th in defensive rating (115.1) in AD’s absence. That stat improved to 109.6 (7th) in four-time All-Defensive team forward’s playtime. Also, Davis’ presence allowed the Lakers greater flexibility in defending pick and roll actions, as he can cover smaller, quicker guards on the perimeter too.

Though the Lakers have LeBron James as a natural leader in the team, considering his age and need of the team, LeBron would be preserved for a more vital role late in games and playoffs. While Russell Westbrook is also available to call shots, his recent form suggests otherwise. The high turnover rate also cost the Lakers dearly last season, so they will play safe to protect every possession.

Los Angeles Lakers also have invested in young talent, who can run the floor on a fast break and can make shots with quick release.

Anthony Davis as the team’s focal point is critical for Los Angeles on multiple levels. When the Lakers traded for Davis, they envisioned him eventually taking over for LeBron as the No. 1 option on a championship team. LeBron is yet to accept an extension and Russell Westbrook is also playing on his last contract season. So, it will be Davis’ responsibility to take charge before it’s too late for him to mold into the leader role. And I may help to convince LeBron to stay put with the Lakers.

In a recent meeting with James and his camp, Coach Ham and LBJ reportedly agree that the route to accomplishing better results includes the Lakers’ offense running through Anthony Davis. Coach Ham already mentioned his intentions of holding all players “accountable,” fostering “selflessness” and an increase in defensive tenacity among all players on the team’s roster.

2020 Champion Anthony Davis is just 29 years old and has all the qualities to make impactful plays on the court. If he can get going, the Lakers have a good chance of making a deep run into the playoffs.   

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