Anthony Davis laments Lakers’ poor defense as he opens up on team’s biggest struggles

Zach Stevens
4 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers got some good news on the Anthony Davis injury front recently, as he said that the rehabilitation from the stress injury in his foot has progressed well and the pain he has been experiencing has greatly subsided.

But they have struggled without him, and Davis wasn’t shy about calling out his teammates for their defensive deficiencies.

“I think our main [struggle] is defensively,” said Davis. “We took a huge dip defensively. I think maybe three games in a row we gave up like 130 which is not us. It’s not the team we’ve been. Even when I was in the lineup we took some dips, but that’s my biggest thing right now. Obviously being the anchor of the defense and guys thinking like, ‘Okay, AD in on the back line,’ which allows us to do different schemes defensively when I’m on the floor. Just been trying to give these guys my insight on the defensive end, looking at clips, grabbing the iPad and showing guys when they come out, things like that. The offense though, we’ve been scoring. We just haven’t been defending and that’s where our struggles have been. Transition, rebounding, everything on the defensive end.”

In five of the eight games Davis has missed recently, Los Angeles has given up at least 120 points, and it has surrendered at least 130 points in three of those contests. The team has gone 4-7 without him, and with a 15-21 record, it is creeping closer to the point at which gaining a playoff spot may be next to impossible.

Just prior to his injury, Davis was playing incredibly, and he was even making a case for possibly being the best player in the NBA. He had four consecutive games with at least 30 points and 16 rebounds in November, as well as 44 points in a win over Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks and 55 points two days later.

Without Davis, the Lakers have virtually no shot-blocking, and it has left them vulnerable to dribble penetration. In addition, it has made their already thin frontcourt even thinner, and head coach Darvin Ham has responded by employing some very small lineups that have consisted of four or even five guards.

Ham has defended such lineups by saying he is trying to speed up the tempo of the game, but such lineups have failed defensively while giving up too many offensive rebounds, two things that prevent any team from establishing its fast break.

The Lakers had been seeking out trade options in order to plug in the holes in its frontcourt and upgrade its poor 3-point shooting. However, Davis’ injury has seemingly halted those plans, as it is unclear whether making a significant trade would be the right move given their recent struggles.

For now, LeBron James has been trying to carry the team by playing like a man much younger. He turned 38 on Friday and celebrated by putting up 47 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in L.A.’s win over the Atlanta Hawks.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.