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    Lakers’ Anthony Davis again adjusting to playing with another big man
    • October 6, 2023

    EL SEGUNDO — When it comes to positional designations between being a four (power forward) or a five (center), Anthony Davis is still sorting through what to be referred to as going into his 12th NBA season.

    “Who knows,” Davis said after Friday’s practice ahead of Saturday’s preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. “I’m still trying to figure it out.”

    How he sees it, there’s a simpler way to describe his “position” without using traditional terminology.

    “I am a ‘big man’,” Davis said. “There you go. I am a big that plays basketball.”

    And to Coach Darvin Ham, there’s an even more straightforward way to describe Davis’ position.

    “To me, I view him as a hell of a basketball player – in the same way I viewed Giannis [Antetokounmpo] when I was in Milwaukee. A.D., he is of that ilk, where you just put him out there and he’s going to figure it out. He has the physical tools and skills to do whatever he wants to do on the basketball court.”

    Davis’ ability to toggle between the four and the five is something the Lakers are counting on.

    Ham and General Manager Rob Pelinka have said multiple times that they intend to play Davis alongside another big more this season, similar to how Davis did with Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee during the Lakers’ 2019-20 championship season.

    Thus the Lakers made the free agency signings of Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood – big men with very different skill sets who could both play alongside Davis.

    Even though Davis entered the league in 2012 playing most of his minutes at the four alongside another big man, it’s been a couple of seasons since he’s played the position with regularity.

    Davis played 99% of his minutes as the center last season and 76% of his minutes at the five in 2021-22, according to Cleaning The Glass.

    He played 91% of his minutes at the four in 2020-21 – when the Lakers had Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell on the roster – and spent 60% of his minutes at power forward in 2019-20.

    This has made training camp a good time to work on the adjustments playing alongside another big again. Davis said he and Hayes played on the same team in scrimmages “the first couple of days” of camp before he played alongside Wood “for a stint” on Friday.

    “They were doing a good job,” Davis said. “I was confused a lot. I was sliding back into the four during some possessions [and I heard], ‘AD, run corner!’ I forgot. So, it was good. Still figuring things out. Talking with the coaches and Jaxson and C-Wood about some things that I did with DeMarcus [Cousins] and Julius [Randle] back in New Orleans. So, it’s been good.”

    Davis playing more four should allow him to roam and play “free safety” more defensively, and not have to be directly involved in as many pick and rolls – something he’ll appreciate.

    “It feels good to stay out of 100 pick-and-rolls a game,” Davis said. “So I still got a lot to learn from it. I still got a lot to explore. But it’s been good the first couple of days.”

    Off the court, the 30-year-old Davis had already been playing a leadership role as the oldest and most experienced player in the big man room compared to Hayes (23 entering his fifth NBA season) and Wood (28 entering his eighth season).

    Hayes said he, Davis and Wood had been working out in the mornings together the week leading into the start of camp, with Davis taking them out to eat and inviting them over to his house to help get them settled.

    There’s optimism that can help translate to on-court chemistry, too.

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    “It’s been awesome,” said Hayes, who added he watched “a ton” of defensive film of Davis when he was with the New Orleans Pelicans. “I feel like we’re two bigs that could play really well together because of the way we both move on the floor and stuff, we can switch one through five. I feel like that’s pretty easy to have when you have two bigs like that. I’ve been working with him for the past week and a half, just trying to get better, just learning from him, because there’s nobody better to learn from than him.”


    In addition to LeBron James, third-year guard Austin Reaves also won’t be available Saturday against the Warriors (5:30 p.m. tipoff).

    The team is easing Reaves back into things after he played for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, with the Americans’ last game being on Sept. 10.

    “We kicked the training wheels off [Friday] and he responded unbelievably,” Ham said. “Like, the kid looked great. Just his confidence and the way he commands with the ball in his hands, without the ball in his hands, his scrappiness, his IQ, his ability to make shots, get the defense off-balanced. He was doing all of that.”

    The game will be broadcast on Spectrum SportsNet, which is airing all six preseason games. All preseason games can also be heard on the team’s flagship radio station, 710 AM, and in Spanish on 1330 AM.

    Anthony Davis on the adjustments of playing alongside Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes in training camp practices:

    — Khobi Price (@khobi_price) October 6, 2023

    ​ Orange County Register