For Anthony Davis, the Lakers must start playing like underdogs: that’s good, that’s what they are now

At the moment, satisfactions are rare for the board of the Lakers. Indeed, what is happening on the floor is not very bright, between the lack of control at key moments, the lack of consistency and defensive solidity. Perhaps it is time for someone to cry out fire, because to use the Shakespearean phrase “there is something rotten in the kingdom of King James”.

Three days ago, the Lakers seemed to show signs of new involvement after a successful game against the Celtics. Lebron james even referred to the meeting as “one of the best games of the season” for Los Angeles, if not the best. But the improvement did not last very long. Last night on the floor of Memphis, the Angelinos fell back into their faults with a 108-95 loss to the Grizzlies back-to-back and yet deprived of Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks. Ugly, very ugly for a team that wants to play the leading roles. Once again, the turnovers (22) weighed down the gang at LeBron, while Russell Westbrook simply went through (9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 losses). So in a post-match press conference, Anthony Davis did not hesitate to face the reality that surrounds his team today.

“These guys already feel like the underdogs when they hit the court. Especially when they are deprived of their star players. And we also have to play like we’re the underdogs. Because given the way we’re playing at the moment, we’re probably underdogs. ”

– Anthony Davis, via ESPN

A few weeks after saying “we have to choose the type of team we want to be”, Anthony Davis is therefore putting it back on. Except that for some like Charles Barkley, it is him squarely the first person in charge of the small form of the Lakers. “Everyone shot Vogel and Westbrook for this (failed) start to the season but Anthony Davis has to be better, […] it is not doing what it is supposed to do. You’re 27, you’re supposed to be in your prime, up there with Giannis and KD. ” When we limit ourselves to box scores (24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 average interception), we can say that Chuck is going a little far but there is some truth in his speech. The California team shouldn’t have been so bad during LeBron James’ absence (5-7 without the King), a period when Anthony Davis needed to be more dominant and assertive in leadership. His poor success in off-racket shoots is perhaps the greatest symbol of this a bit disappointing start to the season, especially since we were expecting it after a very complicated 2020-21 campaign. The Anthony Davis of the bubble – who was unplayable in attack and everywhere in defense – is really struggling to come back and the Lakers are paying the price.

Obviously, not all the ills of the Lakers are linked to Anthony Davis. As Barkley’s speech shows, AD is mostly singled out for being the one who is logically in his best years, in the midst of a number of old men. But several other aspects come into play. The repeated absences of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook who is learning a role of third blade hitherto unknown to him, the defensive solidity that characterized the team in recent years has disappeared following various movements in the offseason ( departure of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma), and Frank Vogel – a coach with a defensive spirit above all – is groping to make it all work. Yes Lakers owner Jeanie Buss believes she can’t pass full judgment on the work Vogel does until the team is in full swing, and if Frank remains focused on his work day after day, we still want to say “attention”. Extended for only one year during the last offseason, we say to ourselves that it is far from being untouchable …

The coach seems to still have a little time after the recent media release from his management, but the Lakers (13-13) are only sixth in the West at the time of these lines, closely followed by Dallas (12 -12) and Denver (12-13). In reality, the Angelinos need to get out the distress signals as they will soon face teams like the Bulls, Suns and Nets. So they won’t need to play the “underdog”, they will be.

Text source: ESPN

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For Anthony Davis, the Lakers must start playing like underdogs: that’s good, that’s what they are now