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#pounditMonday, December 11, 2023

Anthony Davis reportedly wants Lakers to make 1 big change next season

Anthony Davis in warmups

Oct 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) warms up prior to the game against the Denver Nuggets at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis would like to see a return to the Frank Vogel era in a sense.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported Thursday that the Los Angeles Lakers star Davis has “made it clear” to the organization that he does not want to spend as much time at center during the regular season. Instead, Davis wants to play at his more natural power forward position more often.

McMenamin adds that the Lakers have heeded Davis’ wishes, signing seven-footer Jaxson Hayes in free agency this summer and very recently landing another center in Christian Wood as well.

This is like Groundhog Day all over again for Davis, who has long been vocal about his preference for the 4 spot over the 5. Playing center requires more physical exertion from Davis, especially when rebounding and defending against burly true seven-footers. The Lakers also won the NBA title in 2020 with Davis primarily at the power forward slot (with a legitimate center like Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee starting next to him).

But the conundrum for the Lakers in more recent seasons is that they have actually been a more effective team with Davis at center as it unlocks some mouth-watering small-ball rotations. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham played Davis exclusively at the 5 last season (100 percent of Davis’ minutes came at center, per Basketball Reference), and the team went from 33 wins in the previous year to the Western Conference Finals.

Still, Davis is 30 years old now, and the Lakers just made an enormous investment in him with a monster new contract extension. Wood, a poor defender, and Hayes, a still-raw 23-year-old, will not be objectively better options than Davis at center. But for the Lakers to listen to Davis’ desires and help preserve his injury-prone body as he ages might take precedence above all at this point.


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