Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves recently spoke with ESPN’s Zach Lowe on his Lowe Post podcast and mentioned that superstar teammate Anthony Davis specifically impressed him during LeBron James’ minicamp that he organizes annually.
“Obviously Bron puts it on,” said Reaves of the minicamp. “We went down to San Diego. … It was great. It was 100 percent attendance. Everybody was there. Everybody was active, and everybody looked good. We did a lot of shooting competition stuff. A.D. is shooting the ball really well right now. It’s something that I’ve tried to get him to do more, is shoot it. ‘Cause if he does that at a very decent level, which he can ’cause in the bubble year he shot it really well, literally you can’t guard him.”
That “bubble” year that Reaves mentioned was the Lakers’ 2019-20 season, which culminated at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. That year, Los Angeles won its 17th NBA title on the backs of Davis and James. They defeated the Miami Heat in six games.
Davis arrived the offseason before in a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, who received Lonzo Ball, Brandom Ingram, Josh Hart and several draft picks in a trade.
Immediately upon arrival, Davis became a force to be reckoned with, as he averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. He also shot 50.3 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from 3 (his best percentage in a Lakers uniform).
During the 2020 playoffs, the center more or less increased his numbers across the board. He averaged 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting a whopping 57.1 percent from the field and playoff-best 38.3 percent from 3. His shooting combined with his health were two big reasons the Lakers won it all that year.
Since that 2019-20 campaign, the four-time All-Defensive player’s percentage from deep has regressed. During the next season, he shot just 26.0 percent from deep and followed that up with a Laker-low 18.6 percent from 3 in the 2021-22 season. His most recent campaign saw him shoot just 25.7 percent from beyond the arc.
If Davis can increase that percentage to his at least 33.0 percent from deep, that would make a world of difference for Los Angeles heading into the new season. That’s because defenders would be forced away from the basket, opening up lanes for Reaves and James.
Here’s to hoping that a more confident Davis and burgeoning chemistry with the same core will propel the Lakers to title No. 18 in the 2023-24 season.