Lakers News: Anthony Davis Wants to Be DPOY, 1st Team All-Defense with LeBron

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball players, LeBron James, left, and Anthony Davis share a moment after David was introduced at a news conference at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, Calif., Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers have major aspirations for the 2019-20 season. Title aspirations.

But to get there, Davis wants to lock down on the defensive end and become both the Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Defensive Team selection. And he wants teammate LeBron James on the All-Defensive Team too, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

"I want to be Defensive Player of the Year. I think if I'm able to do that, I can help this team win. The offensive end will come around, but defensively, I want to hold myself, teammates, including LeBron, accountable in order for us to take on the challenge of being the best we can defensively. In doing so, we'll have a good chance of winning every night. I want to make sure me and LeBron are on the All-Defensive Team. And for me personally, I just want to be the Defensive Player of the Year. If we're able to hold teams under 100 [points], which is probably unrealistic but it should be our goal, I think we'll have a shot at winning the title."

It isn't a stretch to think that Davis could be the Defensive Player of the Year this season. He was a first-team All-Defensive Team selection in 2017-18 and has been on the second team twice. He's averaged 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game in his career and has long been considered one of the better defensive big men in the NBA.

James has an impressive defensive resume of his own, with five selections as a first-team All-Defensive player and a second-team selection as well. But that second-team selection, in the 2013-14 season, was the last one James has received. 

One of the knocks on James in recent years has been that he essentially doesn't play much defense at all during the regular season, saving his intensity on that end for the postseason. Given that the 34-year-old James is a three-time Finals MVP and still playing at an elite level, it's hard to knock him too much for his defensive indifference during the regular season. 

But clearly, Davis has higher aspirations for the Lakers on that end of the floor this year, even if that means he needs to play the center position, something he's been reluctant to do in the past.

"Battling [centers] can wear on your body. So I think having JaVale [McGee] and having DeMarcus [Cousins] before he got hurt and now having Dwight [Howard] takes pressure off of me and allows me to play and withstand an 82-game season and going into the playoffs. But obviously, if we have to and we're playing a big lineup where I'm at the 5, then I'm willing to do it. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win."

Despite his reluctance to play the position, Davis is probably the most impactful at the 5, allowing the Lakers to surround him and James with shooters. As the NBA goes smaller, a versatile player like Davis—who can impact the game as both a rim-protector and three-level scorer—becomes all the more valuable. 

Obviously, the wear and tear of playing down low can take its toll. But assuming the Lakers make the playoffs, don't be surprised if Davis spends a good chunk of his time at the 5. In the meantime, however, he has big goals for himself and James on the defensive end.