While breaking down this Anthony Davis film, a couple things really stood out to me.
1) Anthony Davis in transition
I love how AD runs the floor in transition. He runs the floor hard and keeps his eyes up. He’s observant, which allows him to make passes, catch passes, and see where the holes in the defense are. This will add a new threat in Lakers transition that they haven’t had previously. Zubac ran the floor hard, but his lack of length and athleticism hurt him. Davis is much more athletic and mobile, with a 7’6” wingspan and soft hands. His ability to catch errant passes, gather himself, and finish strong at the rim make him a great addition to the Lakers roster.
2) Anthony Davis in ball screen actions and hand offs
Davis flourishes in the two-man game (ball screens) where he is able to roll to the basket or pop. He is a capable shooter, but what impresses me most is how he doesn’t overuse the pop. When he rolls to the basket, he is rewarded with a ton of easy buckets. In New Orleans, Davis had Jrue Holiday, who is an elite point guard. The Lakers don’t have an “elite” point guard (yet), but Rondo’s vision and passing ability will hopefully fill that gap. If the Lakers choose to utilize Lebron as the primary ball handler, this will be another dangerous combination with Davis’ strengths. I can guarantee there will be a fair amount of ball screens being set throughout the season.
While watching film, it was also easy to see that the Pelicans utilized Davis’s ball handling, and put him in many different hand off situations. Sometimes Davis would hand it off to a guard, who would use the screen, and attack downhill towards the rim, while Davis would serve as a pop/roll threat. At other times, Davis would fake the hand off, catching his defenders off guard. Mixing fake hand offs with actual hand offs, and screen actions, will help keep defenders constantly on their toes.
Capitalizing on better ball screen/hand off action could help the Lakers set themselves apart from an already stacked Western Conference.
3) Anthony Davis doesn’t give up on any plays
It is clear in all the film that Anthony Davis never gives up on a play. There are multiple clips where Davis will block a shot or make a defensive play on one end of the court, and then outrun everyone down the court to make a difference at the other end. He’s not only beating his defender down the court, but the guards as well.
There was another clip in the video where Davis was hedging on a screen, with no help side defense to protect the rim. When the guard threw a lob pass to the big man, Davis quickly recovered and used his length and athleticism to block the shot. There are a number of players in the league that would have turned and allowed the easy dunk. Davis isn’t one of those players however. His play-hard mentality and ability to never give up on a play, combined with Lebron’s expertise and knowledge, will take the Lakers to new heights they haven’t seen since Kobe retired.
4) Anthony Davis’s ability to counter
Davis has a number of post moves in his back pocket. However what really separates a great post player from an ok post player is their ability to counter. Everyone player has a go-to move, but when the defense takes that away, are you able to adjust and recover/ perform. Davis is right handed, which means he is going to be most comfortable going to the right. The defense is going to scout Davis regardless. So the question becomes will Davis be able to adjust and quickly go to his counter move. In my opinion, the answer is yes.
In the film, if Davis tries to go right and is cut off by the defense, he will spin back to the baseline and either shoot a turn around jumper or attack the basket. This also comes into play while Davis is trying to get a good position in the low-post. Defenders will try and half front him and deflect the entry pass, but Davis uses his body to carve out space and maintain his position.
It is also apparent that other teams don’t want to deal with Davis on the block. When a defender is playing on Davis’s high side, he likes to spin off the defender, catch the lob pass, and finish at the rim. In the video this was one of his most frequently used counters, and it is an easy way for Davis to get high percentage shots, while boosting his points per game.
Bottom Line- Anthony Davis looks to be a force to be reckoned with this coming season, and Laker fans should be excited to see what he will bring to the team.
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