Saturday, December 4 2021

Last season did not fare well for Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis.

He missed 36 out of a possible 72 regular-season games due to lower-leg injuries, and just when he rebounded his form in the first round of the playoffs, more leg injuries struck.

During last year’s regular season, the big man averaged 21.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 49.1% overall and 26% from 3-point range.

Those numbers weren’t the best for the Kentucky product, but as head coach Frank Vogel lauds his “imposing” body he worked on this offseason, there’s optimism Davis can stay healthy for a more productive campaign.

How can Davis have that? Let’s look at 3 goals for his season:

Play at least 60 regular-season games

With the regular season returning to its usual 82-game format, balancing health and rest after a shorter (but longer than last season) offseason will be crucial given his injury history. Sixty regular-season games seem like a plausible target for Davis. He played 62 in his first season with the Lakers, and 56 the year prior with the New Orleans Pelicans. He played 75 games in consecutive seasons in 2016 and 2017, but circumstances have since changed. He’ll have Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and other offensive-minded players who can carry the load at times.

Aim for 55% from the field, 33-35% from 3-point range

Despite being one of the better scoring big men in the NBA, Davis tends to garner a good amount of his points from the charity stripe; his shooting percentages tend to vary. For his career, Davis is a 51.4% shooter overall and 31.2% from 3-point range, though on just 1.6 attempts a game. This season, Davis should aim for a field-goal percentage around 55% and a 3-point percentage between 33-35%; the former would mark a career-high number, while the latter is something he accomplished in 2017-18 when he shot 34% from deep on 2.2 attempts. He’s gradually tried expanding his long-range shot, so these goals should help him elevate to another level.

Play more minutes at center

This is a given, especially considering how the Lakers assembled the roster. While Davis tends to start as a power forward, he often thrives more at center. Last season, Davis played just 10% of his minutes at the 5, which was affected by Marc Gasol’s floor-spacing presence. The season prior, Davis was at 40%. In 2018-19 with the Pelicans, the number was 96%. Can he be closer to 50% this season? The Lakers have just Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan at center this season. Seeing how L.A. signed Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza, two power forwards at this stage of their careers, the likelihood for Davis to move up a position should increase.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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