CHICAGO: Anthony Davis knows smooth. He has been making basketball look easy for years, from his early days in his native Chicago all the way through to NBA stardom.
When it comes to his seemingly effortless transition to life with the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis makes it sound as if it’s no big deal. After all, smooth is what he does.
“(It’s been) very natural. I think team chemistry is very good,” Davis said ahead of a special seventh All-Star Game for the 6-foot-10 forward.
“We’ve been able to do some major things in the first half of the year, and it’s only going to get better.”
Davis has teamed with LeBron James to give Los Angeles one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, leading the Lakers to a Western Conference-best 41-12 record at the break. Davis is averaging a team-high 26.6 points and 9.2 rebounds, shooting almost 52 percent from the field. In his first seven seasons with New Orleans, just making the playoffs was a big question for Davis this time of year. Now it’s all about seeding and championship aspirations.
While Davis is a matchup nightmare on offense, he might be even more valuable to Los Angeles on the defensive side of the ball. The Lakers are allowing 107.3 points per game on 44.6 percent shooting, bettering their defensive averages of 113.5 points and 45.2 percent shooting from the previous season.
“We put (Davis) on point guards. We put him on centers. We put him on wings. And obviously he does a great job with his natural matchup at power forward,” Vogel said.
“So he definitely allows us to do a lot more than an ordinary player at that position would do, and his ability to guard multiple positions alone makes him the Defensive Player of the Year in my book.”