Anthony Davis wants to change his position with the Lakers

Published September 7, 2023 at 8:56 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers are walking a tightrope this season as they navigate Anthony Davis's preferences on the court. While Davis is undoubtedly one of the NBA's premier centers, boasting impressive stats like 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season and his defensive prowess, and the Lakers' overall performance improvement of 7.8 points per 100 possessions when he's in play, he's expressed a desire to reduce his time at the center position this year.

Davis has been leaning into his strengths, emphasizing his inside game rather than taking too many three-pointers. If he spends a significant portion of his 65 games this season at the center position, it's highly likely he'll secure another All-NBA center recognition.

However, Davis is concerned about the wear and tear that comes with playing the five spot extensively. He made his stance clear to the Lakers management, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

According to sources, Davis communicated his wish for more support at the center position, aiming to avoid excessive time at the five during the regular season.

During the previous season, Davis played center for the entirety of his minutes, as confirmed by Basketball-Reference (though Cleaning the Glass argued it was "only" 99%). This year, the Lakers have bolstered their center depth by adding Jaxson Hayes, known for his athleticism, and Christian Wood, recognized for his offensive skills. These acquisitions should help alleviate Davis's minutes, potentially allowing him to play as a power forward at times without sacrificing performance.

Nonetheless, when it comes to crunch time, and possibly even the start of games, Davis will assume the center role. The primary reason behind this decision is defensive strategy. If, for instance, Hayes starts at center, Davis would be assigned to the power forward position, where he'd often find himself guarding smaller and quicker opponents on the perimeter, leaving the rim exposed. More importantly, this lineup would require LeBron James to defend small forwards, a demanding task for a player approaching his 39th birthday in December.

Despite these challenges, the Lakers have managed to reduce Davis's center minutes, marking a successful offseason extension of their trade deadline moves. Players like Gabe Vincent at point guard and the dependable Cam Reddish on the wing have been added to the roster. Austin Reaves, who made an impression with Team USA, appears ready for a significant role, and the return of Rui Hachimura adds to the team's depth.

Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood will contribute upfront, striving to grant Davis his wish for reduced time at the five during the regular season, ensuring he's at his best for the playoffs—the true test for the Lakers' success.
September 7   |   48 answers
Anthony Davis wants to change his position with the Lakers

Should Anthony Davis Play More Center or Less Center this Season?

More Center: He's dominant in that role!2347.9 %
Less Center: Preserve him for the playoffs!2552.1 %
Latest 10 stories