About That Action: How Anthony Davis Amplifies The Lakers Guard Play On Offense

With the Lakers roster nearly locked in for next season, there are elements outside of the much improved shooting that fans will experience on the court.

As the first foray of the “About That Action” series, I wanted to cover how the Lakers could try to maximize Davis’ abilities. Specifically, I want to take a look at Davis’ excellent screening ability specifically out of Dribble Hand-Off Action.

The Pelicans utilized this action out of half court sets with different partners including Holiday, Moore, and Payton last season which resulted in different kinds of looks depending on how it was defended.

In the video below, watch how defenders choose to either “stay attached” to Davis or play “zone coverage” to counter the DHO action by the Pelicans.

Both defensive coverages have similar results for the offense and if utilized with the correct pairing, the Lakers can further enhance their wing production with Davis’ screening.

Watch how Davis’ ability to erase defenders with his screening turns DHO situations into 2 on 1 opportunities.

Last year the Lakers were tied for last in dribble hand off possessions utilized per game but ranked in third highest in points per possession out of those possessions.

The last time the Lakers ranked highly in both volume and points per possession for the dribble hand-off playtype was the 2016-17 season in which they fielded Nick Young, Lou Williams, and D’Angelo Russell who played off of Julius Randle’s high quality screening.

When we look at who performed the best out of DHO action last year, the two names that jump out are Reggie Bullock & Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Both played similar 3&D type of roles for the Lakers last season and with the addition of Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and the retention of Pope it’s possible that the Lakers will be able to create more effective use of DHO action.

Take a look below at how KCP utilizes DHO action in simple and complex sets. Now imagine Davis being the player handing off the ball during this action.

New addition Avery Bradley has familiarity running this kind of action in stints with Memphis and the Clippers. The main difference for him, like Pope, is that now he’d be running it with Davis which should make the lanes more open for him.

Watch how Bradley navigates through DHO action in similar manner, but unlike Pope, Bradley likes to go to the rim with more frequency.

In the examples above we can see how Davis’ presence as an effective screener in DHO action results in quality looks for his teammates.

When we then compare it to how effective Pope and Bradley can be out of that same action, it becomes easier to visualize the kind of combinations the Lakers can utilize.

Aside from the two mentioned above, the Lakers can also use the fleet footed Quin Cook and Alex Caruso as well. Davis’ screening serves as a great example of how he can amplify the Lakers offense even if he isn’t the one player scoring the ball.